Sumner Armory takes in hurricane refugees
By Nico Simino
Bedford-Stuyvesant is doing its part in helping the city recover a week after Hurricane Sandy, the largest and most destructive storm in the city’s history left many Brooklyn residents still reeling from losing their homes due to flooding and/or without power.
One of these shelters housing hurricane refugees is the Sumner Armory, or the Pamoja House, located on Marcus Garvey and Jefferson Ave., which currently houses black veterans and homeless men.
The Pamoja House, which is run by the organization, Black Veterans for Social Justice (BVSJ), is part of the Department of Homeless Services (DHS) network but is still more or less independently run by the BVSJ.
“The evacuees that we received aren’t directly from area’s affected by the storm but rather from other shelters that had to evacuate because of flooding or loss of power,”
said BVSJ CEO Wendy McClinton.
McClinton said Pamoja has taken in evacuees that were already housed somewhere else, but because of the storm, they were moved to Pamoja. Pamoja insisted that because of rules laid by the DHS, they could not house families.
In total, Pamoja has taken in about 160-175 evacuees from other shelters from Queens and Manhattan.
“Everything is going pretty smooth,” said McClinton about the transition process and general mood within the shelter. “This is not a time to complain but a time to join forces, work together and continue our mission.”
McClinton insisted that the evacuees at Pajoma are there to stay until other facilities come back online, mainly in lower Manhattan and western Queens.
Because the DHS headquarters was flooded and still being without power at press time, many of central Brooklyn’s other shelters were unable to talk on record about what they are doing with evacuees from the storm.
Some shelters, like the 85 Lexington Avenue Women’s Shelter, did not take in evacuees from the storm but did offer vocal support for anyone who was displaced.
Meanwhile, Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church Pastor Shaun J. Lee and Bed-Stuy District Leader Robert Cornegy have organized a donation drive at the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, located at 230 Decatur St., this past Wednesday to help victims of Hurricane Sandy.
They continue to take in food, clothes, flashlights, blankets, batteries and whatever else victims of the storm might have needed.
If you would like to volunteer in relief efforts from Sandy, you can contact the Red Cross or the BVSJ at 718 852-6004, or the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church at 718 493-8770.