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Sandy Evacuees Say They Are Still in Hotel Limbo

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Thousands of families that evacuated during Sandy remain in temporary hotel situations with no concrete plan to get them back into permanent housing, according to the evacuees and groups advocating on their behalf.

More than 3,100 households remain in city- or FEMA-funded hotels throughout the five boroughs, according to Coalition for the Homeless.

They and other advocate organizations are calling on officials to provide immediate financial assistance to get these mostly low-income families into stable, permanent housing arrangements. The groups held a press conference at City Hall on Tuesday to draw attention to the issue.

Nateisha Laws said she and her family evacuated from Far Rockaway during Sandy and are now struggling to afford basic goods like food and soap nearby their Midtown hotel.

"We deserve answers," she said during the press conference. "We deserve respect. We're people just like everyone else is here. And we deserve to know a plan to move forward with. How do we help ourselves?"

At a hearing before the City Council also on Tuesday, Department of Homeless Services commissioner Seth Diamond said the city was working closely with FEMA to make federal funds available for the remaining evacuees. While he said he hoped the process would resolve itself soon, Diamond was unable to give a specific timeframe on if and when the city could see federal aid.

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