Workforce training by rebuilding Sandy-damaged homes

Superstorm Sandy ravaged the tristate area more than five years ago, yet hundreds of New York City homes are still feeling the effects.

"I haven't used my bathroom in many years," says Leone John, a homeowner on Staten Island.

John says Sandy destroyed her electricity and carpeting. Water seeps through her home nearly every time it rains.

It's been a long road, but as of Friday, the single mother of two can proudly call her house a home again, thanks to the collaborative work of Rebuilding Together NYC and NYCHA. Volunteers have started to gut renovate John's bathroom, kitchen, and more.

"Once we finish, I know she's going to be so excited," says Hakem Harper, a volunteer and NYCHA resident.

John is not the only one benefiting from Friday's work.

Harper and other volunteers are all NYCHA residents who were impacted by Sandy. They are now part of the Workforce Training Program, which provides underemployed or unemployed New Yorkers with training and certifications to work in the construction industry.

"I learned a whole lot more than I expected to learn from here," Harper says.

"While we're providing these free home repairs, we're also training people from the neighborhood so that they can get the jobs next time there's a disaster, next time that there's home repairs and construction jobs," says Kimberly George, the executive director of Rebuilding Together NYC.

To date, Rebuilding Together NYC has trained about 120 participants. Within 6 months of completing the program, 79 percent of graduates retain employment.

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