Housing Update For Katrina Evacuees
State Senator Malcolm A. Smith announced that he has received a response to the letter he wrote to Mayor Bloomberg this past December. The Queens lawmaker wrote to the Mayor asking that New York City consider a process that would allow non-profit organizations to sign leases on behalf of hurricane survivors.
"I have received a reply from Commissioner Joseph Bruno of the New York City Office of Emergency Management regarding the housing situation of survivors currently residing in New York City," Senator Smith said. "The Commissioner went on to say that the City is confident that evacuees have sufficient resources to locate housing and that involvement from the local government is not necessary at this time."
The Senator noted that Katrina survivors are eligible for up to 18 months of rental assistance from FEMA, and have access to Case Management Specialists from the Department of Homeless Services.
"I was pleased to learn that the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has conducted two housing fairs, which have given the survivors the opportunity to apply for rent stabilized rental housing in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan. I hope that these housing fairs have proved to be informative and have served as an added source of assistance to the evacuees," said Senator Smith.
According to the New York City Office of Emergency Management, as of January 6, 177 of the 375 households who were residing in hotels have moved out. Senator Smith said that as of February 21, there were only 94 households remaining in hotels.
"I urge all evacuees who are still in need of permanent housing to contact FEMA and my office at (718) 528-4290 immediately, and to take advantage of financial assistance grants that are available through the Department of Human Resources (HRA).
I know that FEMA, along with the City of New York, is dedicated to providing safe housing opportunities to the evacuees, and I hope that in the very near future every single displaced person will have a permanent residence," Senator Smith concluded.