New York City evacuated more than 3,000 people to hotel rooms in the wake of Hurricane Sandy last fall. About 300 of those people are still living in hotels. But now, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has stopped reimbursing that strategy, and New York says the evacuees will have to move out. The New York Times had this report in late September: ("Hundreds of Storm Evacuees in Hotels Face Evictions," by Mireya Navarro).
Homeless advocates went to court to block the evictions, the Times reports. "The city tried to end the hotel program in May after most of the more than 3,000 people in hotels had returned to repaired homes, secured public housing or found other permanent accommodations. City officials attributed the decision to budgetary concerns as well as the declining number of evacuees. The hotel program, officials said at the time, helped avoid the 'severe strain' on the city's shelter system from a sudden influx of evacuees. By now, city lawyers argued in court documents, 'it makes no sense for the city to continue to house evacuees in hotels when they can be housed within the city shelter system for a fraction of the cost and can continue to receive the same support, services and access to programs they are provided while in the hotel program.'"
A New York judge ruled that the city does not have to keep paying for hotel rooms, Reuters reports ("Last homeless Sandy victims to be evicted from NY city-funded hotel rooms," by Victoria Cavaliere). "Without the financial support of FEMA, State Supreme Court Justice Margaret Chan ruled the city does not have 'a budgeted source of funds' to continue running the hotel program. 'It is true the plaintiffs have suffered much and can do without another upheaval of moving into the shelter system,' the judge wrote on Friday. 'But the point of this upheaval is a lack of further funding from FEMA.'"