hurricane maria
People walk on the street next to debris after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guayama, Puerto Rico September 20, 2017. Photo: Reuters

A service center will open next week in New York City to support those displaced from Puerto Rico, Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands and other areas in the Caribbean following multiple recent devastating hurricanes.

 

The center, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday, will be open beginning Thursday, Oct. 19 at the Julia De Burgos Latino Cultural Center at 1680 Lexington Ave. in Manhattan.

 

“New York City will help those affected by recent hurricanes in any way we can,” de Blasio said in a statement. “We’ve been sending donations and emergency responders to affected areas, and now we’re setting up a central location to help displaced people in our city receive essential services and assistance.”

 

The center will provide in-person support and access to services for those individuals and families affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. The Department of Social Services will be present with both English and Spanish speakers to help people enroll in SNAP benefits, public health insurance, emergency food assistance and more.

 

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will be on site to provide mental health counseling, health insurance support and to detail information on immunization assistance for those dealing with school enrollment.

Other providers include the Department for the Aging, Department of Education, the American Red Cross of Greater New York, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and more.

The center has received praise from multiple New York leaders like borough presidents, senators and city council members.

"Once again, our City rises to the occasion in order to provide our fellow Americans affected by Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and Maria the assistance they require in their time of need," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera in a statement. "I applaud the ongoing efforts of our City's administration that, unlike the lackluster and in some cases negligent response from the federal government, continues to set up safety nets for those displaced by these recent natural disasters.”

The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. The city is encouraging those planning to stop by the service center to first make an appointment, starting Oct. 18, at nyc.gov or by calling 311.