City Seeks Empty Apartments for Sandy Victims

In one scenario, displaced families will receive FEMA vouchers to cover rent on their new apartment.

With the city’s shelter system running at capacity since Hurricane Sandy, vacant apartments are being rounded up by city, state and federal officials in an attempt to house thousands of families displaced by the storm, according to the New York Times.

“There’s a huge fear that folks are going to be displaced for the medium and long term,” Mathew Wambua, the city’s housing commissioner, told the Times. “We feel a real imperative to have something in place when the second surge comes.”

For the long term, officials have talked of modular housing as a way to house displaced families, but for now, officials are focused on creating a system that would match families with apartments that had been sitting vacant anyway.

According to the Times, Shaun Donovan, the federal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told real estate executives last week, “You really need to help out.”

And though many landlords and developers are eager to lend a hand, they raised many issues, which have been the source of lengthy meetings between city and state officials, and members of the Real Estate Board of New York, the Rent Stabilization Association and the state Association for Affordable Housing.

One system discussed would have displaced families apply for housing with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and when matched to a new home, will pay rent with a FEMA voucher – at most, $1,800, for up to 18 months.

A spokesman for Donovan told the Times that they were devising a creative solution to the housing issue, but no specifics were ready to be announced yet.

Arthur Steinberg, Esq. November 13, 2012 at 02:50 PM
We have beautiful MEDICAL space available on Ocean Parkway which we are offering with extremely flexible terms and rental rates on a temp-perm basis for those doctors who also may have been displaced by the storm. Please call 718 338 6300
Paul November 13, 2012 at 10:47 PM
Why hasn't NYCHA opened any of the apartments being warehoused in developments unaffected by SANDY? Or is that just too much the elephant in the room?


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