City's Plan To Evict Vulnerable Sandy Evacuees From Hotels Will Make Them Homeless Again, Legal Aid Warns

The City's plan to evict the 350 remaining vulnerable Sandy evacuees from hotels "is disgraceful" and will make them homeless again, warned Judith Goldiner, Attorney-in-Charge of The Legal Aid Society's Civil Law Reform Unit, which represents these families with the pro bono assistance of the law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

The move will affect “vulnerable Sandy evacuees who are so close to finding permanent housing,” Ms. Goldiner told The New York Times.

Morning Edition
NPR National
September 28th, 2013 8-9 AM

Eddie Robinson, Reporter: Officials will move about 300 Sandy refugees out of the hotels where they’ve been living since the storm after a judge said that the city could stop paying for the program that housed them. With FEMA funding ending, the city says it’ll stop paying for the hotels on Thursday, meaning that residents could be forced to leave as early as Friday. Judith Goldiner of the Legal Aid Society says in a statement that it’s disgraceful that the city is discontinuing hotel assistance for vulnerable Sandy evacuees, but the city says it has helped people find permanent housing, and that it cannot afford to singlehandedly continue the program without federal assistance. A spokeswoman for the city Department of Homeless Services says that they expect the refugees to move in with family and friends, make their own housing arrangement, or enter the city shelter system.

WNBC (NBC) New York
September 28th, 2013 8-9 AM

Rob Schmitt, Anchor: More than 300 Sandy Victims may have to move out of their New York City hotel rooms next week—this after a judge lifted an order preserving the city-funded program. FEMA’s reimbursement to the city ends on Monday, so the city, which has spent $70 million housing the Sandy evacuees, says those with no place to go can apply to stay in a shelter. It is unclear if the Legal Aid Society which—or, will appeal the ruling on behalf of those evacuees.

The New York Times
September 27, 2013
Court Says Storm Evacuees Must Move
By Ravi Somaiya

Victims of Hurricane Sandy who have been living in hotels since the storm lost a court battle on Friday against eviction and will have to find beds elsewhere, according to a judge’s ruling.

About 300 people will be required to move by Oct. 4, a spokeswoman for the New York City Department of Homeless Services said. Social workers will help them find a place with relatives or in shelters.

The program, which at a cost of over $70 million has served more than 3,000 people displaced by the hurricane last October, had been paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. That financing will end on Monday, and according to the ruling handed down by the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, the city “does not have budgeted funds” to continue it.

Continuing the program would cost $2 million a month, according to the city.

The move will affect “vulnerable Sandy evacuees who are so close to finding permanent housing,” said Judith Goldiner, a lawyer for the evacuees. She said on Friday that it was not yet clear what legal options remained.

Earlier this week, as lawyers for the city and the evacuees clashed in court, victims spoke of their predicament.

Nicole Neal, 39, staying at a Holiday Inn in Brooklyn, had been homeless before getting an apartment in Far Rockaway, Queens, that was left uninhabitable by the storm. Ms. Neal said she was “not going” to another shelter. “I’ve been there and done that,” she said. “I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t want to think about it.”