Adding insult to injury, the New York City government has just announced that public housing residents in areas still without power must pay up their full month's rent. They won't be reimbursed until January, which the NYCHA Chairman outrageously called "a nice little Christmas present."
The government has failed to organize a comprehensive relief effort to respond to the enormous human suffering caused by Hurricane Sandy. Relief centers across the region continue to put out urgent calls for more volunteers and more supplies, from hot food to blankets, socks, water and diapers.
The PSL is calling for a People's Relief Program, which includes:
- The immediate government hiring of 100,000 unemployed workers for relief and reconstruction. This number is only a drop in the bucket, given the whole unemployment picture, but it will make an immediate difference in our communities and to the workers’ families. The number of people hired can be expanded as necessary.
- Free food, water and shelter for all those in affected areas. No NYCHA resident without power should pay a dime!
- A tax on all Wall St. transactions to provide complete reimbursement for damage to people’s homes and personal property.
- A community-led reconstruction effort--no gentrification schemes
- Make the utility companies public
PSL members and volunteers have joined with thousands of working-class heroes in building a grassroots relief effort that has put the government to shame. We are helping to organize a bus of supplies and volunteers this Saturday from outside our office to Far Rockaway. We will be helping out in the relief work, while circulating a petition for a People's Relief Program to be carried out.
What you can do
If you are interested in joining us this Saturday, call 212-694-8762. (Leave a message if we do not pick up) We are leaving from our office at 2295 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (near 135th St) at 10am.
If you'd like to drop off supplies (especially non-perishable goods, water, diapers, toiletries and cleaning supplies) before Saturday, call 347-994-9631.
As temperatures fall, those without heat and power are in a very dangerous situation. Largely unable to communicate with the outside world, we need to have emergency workers in every building, on every block, going door to door to deliver supplies and give residents’ information. This can happen right away, but it requires immediate government action.
Given the possibility of a comprehensive relief effort to save people’s lives and end the suffering, failing to act will amount to criminal negligence for which individual politicians and the system as a whole will be responsible. Talk is cheap—it is time for action.