FEMA extends hotel stay for Sandy victims

Displaced residents still concerned about finding housing after Jan. 27 deadline


Displaced Hurricane Sandy victims who are staying in hotels will not be forced to check out for another two weeks, after the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Friday that it has extended its Temporary Sheltering Assistance program.

FEMA has provided funding for nearly 1,000 eligible Long Island households — individuals or families — who have been staying in hotels since the storm. But that assistance was set to end on Sunday, and many residents expressed concern when they learned that they would have to check out.

At the request of New York State, however, FEMA extended its deadline, saying that many residents are still unable to return to their homes or are having difficulty finding apartments. The extension will allow displaced residents to remain in participating hotels until Jan. 26. According to FEMA, the agency will inform eligible applicants of the extended 14-day period, which has a checkout date of Jan. 27.

“We cannot forget the struggles that continue to plague victims of Hurricane Sandy,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement. “Many still do not have homes to return to and continue to need shelter. The Transitional Sheltering Assistance program will provide individuals with shelter while we work to get people back into longer-term housing.”

This marks the third time that FEMA has extended its program, which began on Nov. 3. FEMA is currently funding hotel stays for approximately 2,360 households statewide, with 850 of those households in Nassau County. Ray Perez, FEMA’s external affairs officer, said that hotels participating in the program charge the government a lower rate, or $142 per night.

“The extensions are made at the request of the state and FEMA reviews that, and in this case we felt that there was a need to continue it,” Perez said. “This is a temporary, transitional sheltering program to allow people to live in hotels as they continue to work toward solutions toward their housing needs. At this point, there’s a need to continue it because people are having issues returning to their homes or finding rental properties.”

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