Deedra Cheatham, a resident of Gowanus Houses and a member of the community-based organization Families United for Racial and Economic Equality, is hard to keep up with. 10 days after the storm, she is helping to lead hurricane relief efforts in the Gowanus Community Center. There is a flurry of donations pouring through the door, gloved hands spooning food into care packages, and volunteers waiting with headlamps in anticipation of taking supplies to stranded residents in buildings still without power, water, and/or heat. The Center has not seen this much activity in years.
She talks about the challenges she and others have faced since the storm. Like many residents, she is searching for answers and wondering why there isn’t more help from the New York City Housing Authority. She pauses and becomes emotional when the lights outside the Center, some of the only lights on in the community, go out and the walkway outside again becomes dark.
In the days that follow, residents slowly regain services, and the Center is shut for "maintenance", at least temporarily.