Petition Started to Rebuild Home for Organizer of Sandy Relief Tent
MIDLAND BEACH — Despite his home being destroyed by Sandy, Midland Beach resident Aiman Youssef used the derelict property to base a relief center helping his devastated community.
He's bounced around the borough, living with his brother, in a tent or in a hotel funded by FEMA, all while running the Midland Avenue Neighborhood Relief Center at 494 Midland Ave.
Youssef hasn't had the funds to start rebuilding his own home, and hasn't heard back from applications for city and state aid.
But a fellow volunteer has started a campaign to get Youssef a new home.
Chris Schultz recently launched an online petition asking Habitat for Humanity — which is rebuilding homes in the borough — to put Youssef on its list of victims to help.
"Having known his story, it just felt to me that the time is right," she said. "I really feel strongly that he should be dead center in the middle of the radar screen."
So far, Schult'z petition has been signed by nearly 300 people.
"He has quite a bit of community support, but we would like to get word out about it and have more people sign," she said.
Schultz said when she first started trekking down from her home in Albany to help Sandy victims in Staten Island, Youssef was there helping. She was in awe at his dedication.
"He's been helping his community for a year and making a promise to a community and keeping it," she said.
Youssef said he was touched to see the petition and all the positive comments people wrote online about him.
"Each person means a lot," he said.