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With Shelters Closed, Displaced Residents Stay In Hotels

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TWC News: With Shelters Closed, Displaced Residents Stay In Hotels
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The city's shelters have closed and now, displaced New Yorkers are dispersed across the city in about two dozen hotels. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

Sheila Richardson used to live in Far Rockaway. For the time being, she is calling the Hotel Indigo in Chelsea home, courtesy of FEMA.

It's a temporary solution to what could be a long-term housing problem: finding housing for residents who were displaced by Hurricane Sandy.

FEMA is confronting a unique housing situation in New York, where even in the best of times, it's tough to get an apartment.

"We recognize that staying in a hotel for that time is not ideal, so they are able to transition into other housing and if they can find a rental agreement, that is also something that certain people can be eligible for," said Mary Simms of FEMA.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the problem really isn't that large. In the Rockaways Wednesday afternoon, the mayor said fewer than 1,000 residents will really need long-term housing solutions.

"If you take a look at the number of people staying in hotels, if we can get these buildings back up with heat and electricity, then you don't have to find other housing for them," Bloomberg said.

He was touring a house that was just repaired as part of a city program called Rapid Repairs. It's a program aimed at getting homeowners back in storm-ravaged homes, and it's his solution for displaced residents, some of whom, the mayor argued, the city may never have to find housing for.

"Having said that, a lot of them want to live with their relatives and their friends," Bloomberg said. "So the actual number you have to house is a lot less than that.

Governor Andrew Cuomo argued that the state faces a steeper challenge.

"It doesn't take days to rebuild homes," Cuomo said. "It takes months to rebuild homes, and we are rebuilding tens of thousands of homes."

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