As power returns to sections of Lower Manhattan and subway lines reopen, there are still an estimated 40,000 New Yorkers who have been left homeless by Hurricane Sandy, according to the New York Times. And with housing inventory tight, securing temporary housing for such a large number has become a daunting task for city and federal officials.
The estimated number of people left homeless by the storm is the worst case figure provided by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which claimed the number may be closer to 20,000. Many of those left homeless where residents of public housing.
“We don’t have a lot of empty housing in this city,” Mayor Bloomberg said at a news conference on Sunday. “We are not going to let anybody go sleeping in the streets or go without blankets, but it’s a challenge, and we’re working on that as fast as we can.”
According to Federal Emergency Management Agency director Craig Fugate, the majority of those displaced by the storm will be housed in apartment buildings and hotels. But on Long Island, where single-family housing is the rule and fewer apartments are available, the agency is running into shortages.
“It has got to make sense for the neighborhood,” Fugate said, when asked if FEMA would use the trailers like those made notorious Hurricane Katrina. “We are going to bring all potential housing solutions and look at what works best for each neighborhood.” [NYT] —Christopher Cameron