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Reducing Our Risk
Organization: The Working World WORCs Program and Rockaway Wildfire
When Hurricane Sandy hit the Rockaways in October 2012, it flooded the neighborhood, destroying thousands of homes, and displacing hundreds of families. The people hardest hit were those already weathering the slow storms of poverty, unemployment, and poor education. Immediately, Occupy Sandy rose to meet this challenge, raising over a million dollars, mobilizing over 20,000 volunteers, restoring thousands of homes and offering start up grants to local organizations and ongoing recovery. From this unprecedented effort, two partner organizations were born.
The Working World’s “Worker-Owned Rockaway Cooperatives” (WORCs) program, in partnership with Rockaway Wildfire, is rebuilding the Rockaways in a way that addresses both the storm’s immediate impact and the long-term systemic issues in the neighborhood. First, we address residents’ civic needs by organizing neighbors to work together towards the ethical development of the peninsula as a whole. Next, we facilitate long term economic growth and community wealth building through a series of intensive business workshops and trainings, at the end of which residents in the Rockaways can become entrepreneurs and owners of their own worker-owned businesses, or cooperatives.
Taken together, these efforts make the Rockaways stronger, more resilient, and more rooted in place - so that if another Sandy hits, they will be better able to respond to it.