Sorting through Hurricane “charity” mumbo jumbo in Hoboken

While some charities that exist out there really do make a positive difference, we all know that not all of them are properly run – or don’t have some other kind of hidden M.O.

In Hoboken’s “Rebuild” charity case – do you think it’s more for a “feel good” publicity stunt for politicians rather than a significant source of aid or assistance to victims?

The city recently (and quietly) released info on how to apply for hurricane relief funds in Hoboken (it was buried – and not very well broadcast). The deadline is January 20th (less than 3 weeks away). The city will soon be renting an apartment at 1st & Park for residents to pick up applications (why not at city hall is astounding – guess they don’t want the public too close to them sniffing around).

This, oddly after everyone was required to mail applications to Zimmer supporter Toni Tomarazzo’s house at 518 Park Avenue. Wonder how many applications will get “lost” or “denied?” Tomarazzo, as you might know was involved in the VERY contentious Hoboken University Medical Center Hospital deal – that from what we understand still hasn’t made a final curtain call here in Hoboken in terms of “shining sunlight.”

$600k up for grabs in Hoboken – will it even make a dent?

It’s been reported that around $600,000 has been raised for Hurricane Sandy relief in Hoboken (less any marketing fees, printing costs and VIP cocktail parties). The number got a $250k “boost” recently from the generous folks at Haven Savings Bank.

And this is where it gets a bit pathetic. While in DC, Zimmer told Senate members that “1700″ homes were damaged – and the city is saying that once people are “selected” after submitting their applications – that “all who qualify will receive the same amount – not to exceed $5,000.” And we don’t know how many additional renters or small businesses this includes in total. 2,500? 5,000? More?

Let’s do some math – looking at the possible scenarios:

  1. 4000 people who make the deadline and qualify all get checks for something like $150. (That covers a new doorknob and scratch-off lotto tickets.)
  2. 120 people qualify and they all get checks for $5000. (so hundreds of people are screwed and get nothing, and 120 people get an amount that STILL isn’t enough to rebuild a basement.)
  3. Let’s average it out to 2000 people who qualify. They all have damage over $5000 that isn’t getting covered by FEMA or personal home owners insurance and the city finds these applicants to be credible and worthy of the funds. (Great, those 2000 people will each get a check for $300. That still doesn’t begin to put a dent in their expenses.)

After all the hoopla and publicity, do you see how any of these scenarios truly help people? The math doesn’t work out to really benefit anyone substantially other than the politicians who want publicity.

This Rebuild Fund is the city’s way of offering a symbolic gesture of help, but “symbolic gestures” don’t rebuild bathrooms and kitchens (but you can milk the PR for a lot of mileage). Even if the amount reaches a million dollars – it hardly makes a dent in the very under-reported damage estimate of $100 million dollars. Unless of course, Diamond Dawn fills the gap with her own money and we get to see her doing ribbon cuttings on new toilets.