Officials Seek Help from NYC Landlords to House Sandy Refugees

Sandy has displaced thousands of families, while leaving many without hot water or heat. Officials are concerned cold temperatures will increase the number of families seeking shelter, and are asking NYC landlords to help house them in vacant units.

"You really need to help out," Shaun Donovan, the federal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, told real estate executives in Manhattan last week. The meeting was a first step towards "a White House rebuilding program that President Obama is expected to announce on Thursday in Manhattan for New York, New Jersey and possibly Connecticut," adds Charles V. Bagli. Members of the Real Estate Board of New York, the Rent Stabilization Association and the New York Association for Affordable Housing also met with officials to discuss the possibility of a public-private partnership to help families displaced by Sandy.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) currently provides a monthly rental assistance of $1,800 for up to 18 months. Officials and landlords have discussed "a system by which people who apply to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for housing could be matched with landlords who have vacant apartments," writes Bagli. "The tenants would pay rent directly with a FEMA voucher, or obtain an apartment through an agency like the Red Cross." However, there is concern that assistance from FEMA may only be enough to cover units in Brooklyn and Queens, not Manhattan.

While landlords are open to lending assistance, Bagli notes, they have "raised a series of statutory and legal hurdles that would have to be overcome." These include provisions for short-term tenants and indemnification for apartment damages and forced eviction. "'People want to do the right thing,' said Charles Dorego, senior vice president of Glenwood Management, a major Manhattan landlord, who attended the meetings on behalf of the Real Estate Board. 'But they don't want to inherit a pig in a poke.'"

Full Story: U.S. Asks New York Landlords for Vacant Apartments to House Displaced Families

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 7 different cities.
$22.00
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95