More than 11 months after Hurricane Sandy wreaked devastation on New York City, as well as other regions along the coast of the U.S. northeast, hundreds of New Yorkers are still without permanent homes. But the federal government has had enough of those people.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency wants approximately 350 victims of the storm to move out of the hotels where they’ve been housed since October of 2012 — and into homeless shelters.
On October 22 of last year, the largest Atlantic hurricane on record ripped through the northeast, causing billions of dollars in destruction in New York and New Jersey. Coastal areas in New York boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island were especially hard hit.
Since the hurricane, FEMA has paid for many victims who lost their homes to stay in hotels around the city. With their homes beyond repair and no money to find new places to live, many of them, largely low-income residents, are still there.
The federal government has paid $73 million to house the hurricane victims so far, but now it says it can’t spend any more money on them, the New York Times reports.
“I’m not going to no more shelters — I’ve been there and done that,” said an emotional Nicole Neal, 39, who was homeless for more than two years before being able to afford an apartment in Far Rockaway, Queens — only to see the apartment destroyed by Sandy.
She has lived in a Brooklyn Holiday Inn since the storm. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t want to think about it.”
By May of this year, about 3,000 people who had been living in hotels were able to return to homes, or went to live in other public housing.
Now, however, the city is taking a look at those remaining in hotels and arguing, in court documents, that, “it makes no sense for the city to continue to house evacuees in hotels when they can be housed within the city shelter system for a fraction of the cost and can continue to receive the same support, services and access to programs they are provided while in the hotel program.”
SOURCES: New York Times, UPI