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Sandy Evacuees Fighting City’s Hotel Eviction Notices

FEMA Has Paid $73 Million To Put Up NYC Residents Since Sandy Hit
Nov. 6, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

Beach 134 St home in the Rockaways on Nov. 6, 2012 (credit: Marla Diamond / WCBS 880)

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)A few hundred New York City residents remain living in hotels nearly a year after superstorm Sandy devastated the region.

As WCBS 880′s Alex Silverman reported, the city is trying to kick them out but the families and their advocates are fighting the evictions in court.

The city’s lawyers argued that the 350 remaining evacuees have to be out by Oct. 1 since the Federal Emergency Management Agency is no longer reimbursing the city for its hotel program.

“Right now what I’m doing is I’m basically camping out in the back of my station wagon,” evacuee Thomas Reddington, who had to leave his hotel last week, told Silverman.

He said he just needed a little more time to find a new place to live.

New York State Sen. Daniel Squadron wrote a letter to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, urging the city to re-evaluate its evacuation plans.

“I find this plan to be thoroughly unacceptable,” Squadron said. “Instead of the City evicting some of the most vulnerable Sandy victims, we should instead be focusing our efforts on connecting them to long-term stable housing.”

“Hurricane Sandy devastated the lives of thousands of families, and these 350 New Yorkers have suffered even more than most.  I look forward to working with you to do the right thing and move forward in the most thoughtful and compassionate way,” the letter went on to say.

The city just started giving out vouchers for rent subsidies this summer, Judith Goldiner with the Legal Aid Society said.

“Anyone who’s looked for an apartment in New York City knows that it doesn’t happen overnight,” said Goldiner. “We all agree that people need to move into permanent housing.”

“Apartments out here in Rockaway are not as plentiful as they used to be,” said Reddington.

If the judge sides with the city, 165 families will have to turn to homeless shelters with no guarantees.

“Go through a grueling process of us evaluating you to determine whether you’re homeless, believe it or not,” Goldiner said.

Reddington said for now, his car is the better option.

“The weather is still nice and all that so I can deal with it,” he told Silverman.

The city’s hotel program has cost the federal government $73 million since Sandy hit on Oct. 29, 2012, the New York Times reported.

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