Still No Relief for Low-Income Renters Hit Hardest by Sandy

Close to 2,000 low-income renters are still living in temporary hotels and SRO’s across the City after being displaced by Hurricane Sandy. The City Council has created a petition calling on the federal government to immediately provide housing assistance to these families. Sign here!

Two reports released today detail the extent of the Sandy’s impact on low-income families. According to the first report, written by the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at NYU, 55 percent of the 150,000 households who registered for FEMA assistance were renters, with the vast majority living on extremely low incomes. Indeed, fully 65 percent of renters impacted by Hurricane Sandy had incomes below $30,000 per year. But there is a mismatch between FEMA’s recovery programs and New York’s housing market:

Many of FEMA’s recovery programs are geared specifically toward single-family homes…. Given the extremely low incomes of the renters claiming damages, they are particularly at-risk of being unable to locate new housing that is affordable to them. [Furman Center]

These findings match what we see every day in our outreach to Sandy evacuees still stuck in hotels and shelters. The families we have met were struggling to survive on very low incomes before the storm, but are now facing even greater challenges. They have lost jobs; they are living in neighborhoods far from their homes; they are trying to get their kids to school; and all the while they are being pressured by the City and FEMA to find a new place to live in a rental market that is out of reach.

The City and federal government must immediately work to move Sandy evacuees out of hotels and back into stable housing. Read our blueprint for City and Federal action here. And add your name to the petition here.