City to Kick Sandy Evacuees Out of Hotels Before Housing Plan is Implemented

Last Friday, the Bloomberg administration hit a new milestone in counter-productive and harmful treatment of homeless and vulnerable New Yorkers. At the end of the day, theadministration announced that they would end the hotel program for Sandy evacuees on April 30th, just a few short hours after they detailed a plan to help house evacuees using federal CDBG funds. What initially seemed like good news turned into a looming disaster, as the April 30th deadline will come long before these new housing resources are realistically available to Sandy evacuees.

There are still close to 800 households, with nearly 2,000 individuals, staying in the hotel system. The vast majority of these households are struggling to survive on very low incomes and cannot be stably re-housed without access to permanent affordable housing assistance.

With this cut-off date looming, the administration has now essentially guaranteed that Sandy evacuees will soon contribute to the already-record-high shelter population. In an unfathomable defense of the announcement to kick families out of hotels, DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond indicated that he believed the majority of families will be able to miraculously find new housing overnight by “return[ing] to repaired homes, mov[ing] in with family members or find[ing] housing outside the city.”

Sandy evacuees themselves reacted a bit differently:

Tamara Wigfall, a 20-year-old pregnant woman, lived in a rented room in Queens before the storm. Ever since, she and her boyfriend have found a temporary home at Kings Inn, a hotel in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

The process of applying for one of the available public-housing units hadn’t led to a solution yet. “The city is just getting you appointments,” Ms. Wigfall said. “If they close this, I’m not going to have anywhere to go and I have a baby on the way.” [WSJ]