2012-12-14 / Top Stories

City Launches Housing Recovery Program

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Mathew M. Wambua, and Director of Housing Recovery Operations Brad Gair announced NYC Housing Recovery, a City initiative to make a pool of vacant apartments available exclusively for New Yorkers that have been displaced from their homes because of Hurricane Sandy. Displaced households will be able to register with the City for assistance in finding short or long-term housing through this new program. Leaders of the City’s major real estate trade organizations have worked to mobilize their memberships to help set aside thousands of apartments over the coming months for lease to storm victims.

As a result of Hurricane Sandy, many New Yorkers across the city are unable to stay in or return to their homes and need to find stable shortterm or long-term housing solutions. New Yorkers who have been displaced by the storm can create an account on the NYC Housing Recovery online portal to learn about housing options and find guidance on how to pursue housing opportunities on their own, or with help from the City with the aim of signing rental leases with the property owners and landlords.

People should first register online with FEMA or by calling 1-800-621- 3362 to receive a FEMA registration number and a determination letter, or e-mail stating that they are eligible for FEMA’s rental assistance because they cannot return to their homes. Depending on location and the type of apartment chosen for relocation, FEMA’s rental assistance may help offset the cost of rent at the new apartment. If a household did not qualify through FEMA, but are not able to stay in or return to their home due to the storm, they may still register at NYC Housing Recovery, though housing options may be more limited.

Once registered with FEMA, New Yorkers can go to www.nyc.gov to find out more about NYC Housing Recovery and where they can register with the City on the portal and learn about the housing opportunities. Registering with the City will allow displaced New Yorkers to be kept informed of any additional housing options should they become available. After completing a profile, they will be presented with two options: People who want help finding an apartment or need help because of income limitations or disability status will be able to continue the NYC

Housing Recovery portal registration process by providing additional information. Once completed, a representative from the City will contact the applicant and help match them with one of the approximately

2,500 available apartments which include income-restricted and market rate units. People who wish to find available housing on their own can do so through Urban Edge’s Sandy Disaster Recovery page, or through

FEMA’s housing portal. Urban Edge has listings of available market-rate apartments, separate from the 2,500 units available through the City-assisted option, that have been pooled by the real estate industry for storm victims. Both sites allow people to control the search themselves, make direct connections with managing agents, and negotiate the lease.

The NYC Housing Recovery portal has been launched in its beta version in an effort to begin to address the housing emergency and connect people to available units as quickly as possible. The City will assess the system in real time as it is being used, and will address any issues as they arise.

If the internet isn’t an option, people can call 311 to be directed to storm housing representatives who are available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. These representatives will register people over the phone and help guide them through the process. People may also go to any of the City’s Restoration Centers where representatives will be on hand to assist with the registration process.

NYC Housing Recovery was created by the City after a meeting organized by HUD Secretary Donovan that gathered local government officials and real estate trade groups in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Following the meeting, government and real estate industry officials worked to identify and work through the complex issues and barriers that restricted landlords from offering their apartments to storm victims as interim housing, allowing the real estate industry to collectively identify the available apartments.

Apartments made available through the NYC Housing Recovery portal may be available for short- or long-term lease, are located in all five boroughs, and may be either marketrate or income-restricted. The term of the lease and type of housing will depend on a household’s specific needs. There may or may not be fees associated with executing the lease, at the discretion of the owner, manager or realtor. The supply of this housing is limited; every effort will be made to accommodate people on a first-come first-served basis. The supply of apartments will continue to change, and the City will update households that have registered on the NYC Housing Recovery portal about additional housing options.

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