Aiman Youssef is still not home.
He hasn’t been home since Hurricane Sandy, the second costliest hurricane in US History, hit the shores of Staten Island, New York on October 29, 2012. On that date, he saved his mother and a neighbor from drowning and almost lost his dog, Samson. Unfortunately, he was not able to save his house on Midland Avenue – his home was lost entirely.
Where once his home stood, in a white tent, is the headquarters of Half Table Man Disaster Relief, an organization he created soon after Sandy hit. From this tent, he and a handful of friends distribute and donate food to other Sandy victims who, still, are in need of help and support to sustain their lives.
Now more than two years after the disaster hit the area, homes sit vacant, abandoned, mold-ridden and dilapidated; some half-destroyed and many boarded up. So far, Aiman and the residents he helps have not seen the benefit of the billions of dollars in relief funds designated to help victims rebuild their lives.
So for now, Aiman will continue his relief efforts – a job he believes is the responsibility of the government to which he pays his taxes–including property tax for a home that no longer exists. Despite all this and the difficulties he has faced, he believes God has been kind to him for allowing him to survive the disaster and to be an “able person” who provides relief to many victims every week.