Judge says hotel shelters for Sandy victims must stay open

May 16, 2013 08:30AM

Hundreds of New Yorkers who were displaced from their homes by Hurricane Sandy and are now living in city-paid hotel rooms won’t be forced to leave by the end of the month, according to a state supreme court judge ruling Wednesday seen by the Wall Street Journal.

The city had said it wanted the 890 remaining evacuees out by May 31, but Justice Margaret Chan granted a preliminary injunction that barred the city from ending the program.

Though the judge acknowledged the city’s “budgetary concerns” for closing the hotel shelters, she noted that an upcoming $9 million federal rental assistance package and a Community Development Block Grant could help the city bear the costs.

It would violate the spirit of the hotel shelter program if the city were to shut it down “just when the funds became available,” Chan wrote. Sandy victims deserved more than seven months, she added.

The city promised to appeal the ruling. “The City’s Hotel Program aided thousands of families with critical services that were unprecedented in scope,” Christina Hoggan, senior counsel in the city law department, said in a statement to the Journal. “But the program was never intended to—and cannot—continue indefinitely.” [WSJ]  – Hiten Samtani