This project has arisen out of a grassroots medical relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, led by Matthew Kraushar, a medical student and Red Hook resident. While the entire city was affected by Hurricane Sandy, the community of Red Hook was among the hardest hit, as the storm damaged critical infrastructure and rendered local medical services inoperable.
He and a team of volunteers went door to door with intake forms to find out who needed help. In the Red Hook Houses, the power outage and mechanical pump failure left many residents without power, heat, or working elevators for over three weeks, exacerbating medical conditions. Residents who needed assistance were then cared for by a health care team comprised of volunteer doctors, nurses, and EMTs, until they could be connected with emergency services or resume primary care. Read the report Matt co-wrote with Dr. Rebecca Rosenberg from NYU.
In the fall of 2014, Matt began working with Aran Baker, an urban practitioner who teaches at Parsons School of Design. Together, they developed the initial framework for the service. Often, neighbors become first responders, before organized support can reach isolated neighborhoods like Red Hook. They asked, "How can we create a pre-emptive, community-based strategy so that we are all prepared ahead of time, and how might we create another layer of support in day to day, non-crisis times?