Sandy families out of hotel program


| mhayes@queenscourier.com |



Displaced families whose homes were destroyed by Sandy still remain housed in hotels thanks to the city’s Hotel Program. This temporary housing, however, is coming to an end next Friday, October 4, according to a city official.

The city’s Department of Homeless Services initiated a Hotel Program that provided evacuees with housing in the interim of receiving federal recovery funds and replacing what was lost. To date, 1,313 households participated in the Hotel Program, costing over $70.5 million, according to court documents.

As of mid-September, 179 households remain in the program. Seventy-six of those are linked to a permanent housing program, five are waiting for repairs on their own homes, 94 are working with the Temporary Disaster Assistance Program (TDAP) and four no longer receive DHS payments.

The program’s funding was provided by FEMAbecause the city “does not have a budget to support the Hotel Program,” said the papers.

Originally, the program was set to stop by May 31. The decision was taken to court, and the initiative was extended to Monday, September 30, the date that FEMA funding will end. Program participants should be out that following Friday.

“For over ten months, the city has dedicated tremendous effort and resources to more than 3,000 individuals displaced by Sandy. As the court has recognized, the city cannot afford to single-handedly continue this program in the absence of FEMA funding,” said Michael Cardozo of the city Corporation Counsel. “All participating households without an exit plan may access DHS shelter, where social services staff will continue to work closely with the remaining households to identify suitable housing options.”

Court documents stated to continue the Hotel Program it would transfer the “financial burden” onto the city which “does not have a budgeted source of funds to operate” the initiative.

 

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