As a fifth generation New Yorker, I’ve finally settled in Harlem. I’m a retired artist and educator, that lives and works in a 10-unit condo. I run an independent fine art printing studio located in the basement of my building.

On September 1st when Hurricane Ida dropped torrential rain onto Manhattan and the surrounding counties, I was one of the many who suffered from its wrath.

Up to 6 inches of water seeped up through the floor in my basement and devastated my office space. Not only would I have to repair the flood damage, but I found that the remnants of the flood caused a serious mold problem throughout the floor boards, baseboards, and walls. Everything would need to be removed, repaired, or rebuilt.

Because I lived in Manhattan, I didn’t qualify for any support from FEMA. My personal home insurance was able to help cover some of the expenses, but I would still leave tens of thousands of dollars left in repairs to be made. I couldn’t afford any of this on my own.


Thankfully, I went to a Disaster Assistance Center in Harlem shortly after the storm, and a representative informed me about the Hebrew Free Loan Society’s interest-free Storm Damage Loan. I applied and fairly quickly received$30,000 in interest-free financial support from HFLS.

The destruction to my home and workspace was unfathomable. I don’t know what I would have done without the support of HFLS.  As a retired arts educator, I might have had to reach into my life savings. The funds I was depending on to help me navigate life in my older years, when I am not able to do any freelance work anymore.

Thanks to HFLS I will be able to rebuild my home in a way that will ideally protect me from the next flood. While I await to hear if my condo insurance will cover me, or if FEMA will make an exception, HFLS was my only other option, and for that I am grateful.

Picture of floor Storm Damage in Maggie's apartment

Are you inspired?


Thanks to my loan, I was able to rebuild and repair my home after Hurricane Ida destroyed much of my belongings.