Siller Foundation to use $1M to help Staten Island Sandy victims with wall board, insulation recovery

By Michael Sedon Staten Island Advance

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation announced that it will be using $1 million to purchase insulation and wall board to help Hurricane Sandy victims rebuild.

Siller Foundation

Volunteer Ken Faljean signs in a shopper at the new Siller Foundation relief center in Grant City. (Staten Island Advance/Jan Somma-Hammel)

“We’re going to be here for as long as there is a need,” said Frank Siller, foundation chairman, during a press conference Wednesday at the group’s newly-relocated recovery center in Grant City. “And that is being dictated to us by the amount of people that come here week in and week out.”

The recovery center, at to 2145 Hylan Blvd., looks more like a fully stocked grocery store with aisles of food, cereal, baby supplies, toiletries, cleaning supplies and even furniture.

Islanders could fill out an application for the sheet rock program at the recovery center, and they will be looked at on a case-by-case basis, assisting the elderly, handicapped and needy first, Siller announced. The foundation will have volunteers and hire veterans to do the installing, which Siller said could help about 1,000 homeowners.

In addition to everything else the foundation is doing, it is also assisting in mold remediation for Sandy victims with a certified team. They have completed remediation at more than 150 homes, with “hundreds” left on their list, Siller said.

The foundation gave about $100,000 to the Fire Department to train FDNY personnel in mold remediation and purchase the necessary equipment and chemicals to help, said Jack Oehm, FDNY battalion chief. Those interested could contact the foundation to be put on the list.

“We’re capable of doing 14 houses at a time,” Siller said. “The city is also doing a tremendous program. They have dedicated $15 million to mold remediation, so if there is an overflow that we can’t do, we will certainly make recommendations to the city.”

Since the storm hit, the Siller Foundation has overseen more than 10,000 volunteers, distributed $10 million in food, clothes and other necessities, distributed $2 million in Home Depot gift cards and has assisted in numerous other ways.

Josephine Gossett of Dongan Hills has used the recovery center for about a month and has saved about $500 in the cleaning supplies picked up there.

“We lost everything in the bottom floor,” Ms. Gossett said, who plans to sign up for the sheet rock program. “They’ve been such a great help.”

Borough President James Molinaro heaped praise on the foundation’s work Wednesday at the announcement, which he said could not have been accomplished by government alone.

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