2010-02-04 / Top Stories

Haiti Earthquake Resource Center Opens In Brooklyn

Governor Paterson, joined by Mayor Bloomberg, Council Member Mathieu Eugene (at right, behind Paterson), and others at announcement for Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center. Governor Paterson, joined by Mayor Bloomberg, Council Member Mathieu Eugene (at right, behind Paterson), and others at announcement for Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor David Paterson joined Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, to announce the creation of the New York Haitian Earthquake Family Resource Center in the National Guard Armory at 1579 Bedford Ave. between Union and President Streets in Crown Heights.

The center is open from 10 a.m.– 8 p.m. weekdays and from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays to provide support services for the Haitian community affected by the earthquake that struck Port-au-Prince on January 12th.

Paterson also announced the appointment of Brooklyn Council Member Mathieu Eugene, the first Haitian-born official elected to the City Council, as Chair of the Resource Center’s Communication and Outreach Committee. The Committee will ensure strong communication of the Center’s information and mission to the community; raise awareness throughout the state about the Center and its services; foster dialogue between community leaders and the Center; and relay constituent interests and concerns to the Center as it grows to meet evolving community needs. Members of the Committee, which will include elected officials and representatives from both the State and City, will be announced in the coming weeks.

Eugene thanked Paterson and Bloomberg for seeing and responding to the pain of the Haitian people, which, he said, “had permeated the hearts of each person there.”

He also noted that it was extremely important that Paterson had recognized the necessity of everyone working together as a committee, coordinating and organizing their efforts. “In the spirit of moral responsibility, I gladly accept chairmanship of the committee,” he continued. “I look forward to working closely with everyone involved to maximize our potential and ensure that we become as effective as possible.”

Among the services the Center provides are:

•Creole/English interpretation;

•Assistance in completing Temporary Protected Status applications;

•Telephone access to appropriate federal and Haitian officials;

•Computer access to a broad range of websites, including New York’s Registry of New York Citizens in Haiti;

•Child guardianship and custody services; •Legal information; •Grief counseling, and

•Official situation reports daily on the status of the relief effort in Haiti.

The Family Resource Center is staffed by a wide range of state and city agencies with access to vital, reliable information, along with partners from the federal government. Local community groups have also been invited to offer services, and community information sessions will be held for the public.

“The creation of this center is the expression of the commitment of so many people and organizations willing to work together to provide needed services to the Haitian people at this critical time,” Eugene said.

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