The grass-roots organization the11518 and its founder, Dan Caracciolo, were among the dozen-plus recipients of Smart Growth awards at Vision Long Island’s 13th annual presentation of the awards on June 13 at the Crest Hollow Country Club. The11518 is the first East Rockaway organization to be honored by Vision Long Island.
After Hurricane Sandy devastated much of his hometown and nearby Bay Park, Caracciolo’s passion to help others propelled him into action. His initial plan was to provide basic post-storm information, but he quickly determined that residents were tackling a wider range of issues than he had thought, including the displacement of families and mounting legal and financial problems. Many homeowners were trying to bridge the gap between their insurance and what the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover. The11518 helped them network and share information.
“I was absolutely thrilled and honored to be named as the recipients of this award,” Caracciolo said. “We’re still holding monthly meetings to help residents navigate things like New York Rising and to help them to continue to recover.”
Last August, in an effort coordinated by members of the11518, about 150 people protested the delays in financial aid for themselves and their neighbors in Kevin McNulty Park, on Ocean Avenue. Residents complained about being forced into the upper floors of their homes to live, if they could return to their homes at all. Many more griped about extensive delays by FEMA and their insurance companies.
“It’s not over,” Caracciolo said last week. “There are so many aspects to this storm, and it’s not over for many residents.”
The11518 is now part of Friends of Long Island, an umbrella organization of grass-roots groups that focus on Sandy recovery in their communities. Supported by Vision Long Island, Friends of Long island members tackle rip-outs, rebuilding and other projects in their own neighborhoods and elsewhere.
The11518: Moving forward