12/19/2012 03:54 pm ET Updated Feb 18, 2013

Responding to Superstorm Sandy: Habitat for Humanity Hits the Road to Repair. Rebuild. Restore.

This week, Habitat for Humanity is launching our first-ever fleet of 24 mobile response units to assist communities and families in New York and New Jersey that are recovering from the devastating effects of Sandy. The specially outfitted fleet -- made possible by our partners Chevrolet, Lowe's and the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation -- departed from Atlanta on Monday and will begin arriving in affected communities today to bolster Habitat's ongoing Sandy response and to help with critical home repairs, rehabilitations and reconstruction.

Hurricane Sandy itself disappeared from the radar within days, but the families who suffer in its wake remain. As winter and the holiday season are upon us, there are so many in need of help. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has likened the scale of the housing crisis his state now faces to that of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. New Jersey residents face a similarly daunting situation.

Hard-hit Monmouth County, for example, is one of our New Jersey destinations this week. Eighty percent of the county's affected area is made up of homeowner-occupied, primary homes. As in so many locations, families have been hard at work mucking out their flooded and damaged homes and are ready to begin the repairs that will return them to decent shelter -- and the security of home.

Our fleet of mobile response units, and Habitat's extensive and enthusiastic network of volunteers and supporters, will let them know they are not alone. Upon its arrival, the fleet will fan out to locations in the New York-New Jersey area where Habitat has already been at work supporting impacted families, local clean-up efforts and community events. Each Chevrolet Express C-20 Panel Van is filled with the tools and equipment that volunteers and families will employ in the months of work that are ahead.

And there will be much hard work to do. The force and aftermath of storms like Sandy are overwhelming and can so easily leave families feeling helpless. A superstorm requires an extraordinary recovery effort. Following the storm, Habitat launched a multi-phase response that will address both the short-term and long-term need for safe and decent housing. Deploying our fleet of mobile response units this week is an important part of furthering that plan.

Our greatest hope is that efforts like our Sandy response remind us all that we are connected, that we can each truly make a difference, that recovery is a place we all arrive together.

Jonathan T.M. Reckford is the chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International. To learn more about Habitat's Sandy response, visit