Hundreds of storm victims, blown out of their destroyed homes by Superstorm Sandy last year, will soon be leaving the various hotels that housed them under a New York City-run transitional sheltering program.
the Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, a FEMA operation. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan has ruled that the city is no longer obligated to house the storm victims. (Corrected)
Approximately 350 people are still living in taxpayer funded hotel rooms after the storm destroyed homes and apartments of thousands of victims. To date, the program has cost $73.5 million and, in her ruling, Justice Chan has determined that the money to extend the program is gone.
“It is true that plaintiffs have suffered much, and can do without another upheaval of moving into the shelter system. However, the point of this upheaval is the lack of further funding from FEMA and there is no showing or even argued that FEMA can be estopped (sic) from declining to fund the Hotel Program,” Chan wrote in her order.
As we previously reported, the program was extended numerous times with the latest extension running until September 30. On behalf of the victims, representatives from the Legal Aid Society have argued that the City failed to find affordable replacement housing for the refugees and was considering an appeal of this latest decision. In opposition, New York City Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo argued that there simply isn’t any money left over to continue.
“Interim housing, along with intensive case management services, was provided, but was never intended to be a permanent solution. As the court has recognized, the City cannot afford to single-handedly continue this program in the absence of FEMA funding,” Cardozo told the Journal.
The Journal also reported that if victims are indeed forced to leave the hotels, they will have the option to move into the homeless shelter system.
Correction (October 2, 2013): A FEMA rep got in touch to point out that this was not the FEMA-run Transitional Sheltering Assistance program, as our report original indicated. It was a city-run program. FEMA’s program ended on September 16. We regret the error.