NYC Housing Recovery to Help Victims Displaced by Hurricane Sandy

By - DEC. 07, 2012

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 today 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 including Rent Stabilization Association President
Joseph Strasburg, the New York State Association for Affordable Housing
President Donald Capoccia, and the Real Estate Board of New York President
Steven Spinola, have worked to mobilize their memberships to help set aside
thousands of apartments over the coming months for lease to storm victims.

"Thousands of New Yorkers can't live in their homes, either due to severe
structural damage, or a lack of heat and electricity," said Mayor Bloomberg.
"As we work to repair those damaged homes as quickly as possible, we are also working
to connect people to housing options that fit their individual needs. This
program will help New Yorkers who need a safe, warm place to stay, especially
as the cold weather sets in."

"This initiative is an important step to
ensuring that those who lost or were displaced from their homes have all
available resources to locate new housing," said HUD Secretary Donovan. "It is
imperative that we continue to work across federal, state and local lines
combining government and private initiatives to ensure that families can find a
safe, stable place to rebuild their lives."

"This program
will be immensely helpful and a lifeline to New Yorkers who are desperate for
housing. In 2011, when I proposed the creation of an online housing
application, many benefits to an online system were noted," said Speaker
Christine C. Quinn. "I am thrilled that this system will now help even more New
Yorkers and serve as a tool in aiding Hurricane Sandy victims. I would like to
thank NYSAFAH, RSA, and REBNY for working with their members to set aside
thousands of invaluable housing units."

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 short-term 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.

"The need for shelter is something
we all understand, and helping to provide relief to those most in need has been
the imperative for all involved in this effort. In a city with extremely low
vacancy rates, finding housing after losing your home or apartment can seem
overwhelming. By pooling available apartments and providing guidance, and with
the invaluable cooperation of our partners in the real estate industry, our
hope is that we're taking some of the hardship out of the search," said HPD
Commissioner Wambua. "Finding interim housing is a much needed step towards
regaining stability and beginning the recovery process."

"We're making quick progress in
getting displaced New Yorkers back in their homes through NYC Rapid Repairs,"
said Housing Recovery Operations Director Gair. "But for people whose homes
need more than a quick fix, tapping into the vacant apartment stock is a great
solution. Our partners in government and the private sector have been
instrumental in getting these initiatives up and running."

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
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.

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 8am - 8pm, 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.

proud to be a part of New York City's initiative to secure housing for
displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy," said Alison Badgett, Executive Director
of the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. "Our members are
eager to help in housing the many low- and moderate-income families who were
impacted by the storm. With hundreds of units dedicated to this effort, New
York's affordable housing industry is working with HPD to provide individuals
and families the security and comfort of a home when they need it most."

"Hurricane Sandy left many New
Yorkers without a roof over their heads or a safe place to call home. As the largest real estate industry trade organization in
New York, the RSA has made it our mission to understand and respond to the
needs of our City's tenants," said Joseph Strasburg, president of the
Rent Stabilization Association. "In this time of
crisis those needs are paramount, and we are proud to be a key partner in this
effort to provide relief and shelter to victims of the storm. Working
with our partners in government, RSA members have answered the call to lend to
a hand to our fellow New Yorkers by making hundreds of apartments available."

"Hurricane Sandy had a
devastating impact on several of the City's neighborhoods.  Since then,
New York's real estate industry has worked tirelessly to get the properties
damaged by the storm operational as soon as possible for our commercial and
residential tenants so that people could get back to work or to their
homes," said Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New
York. "At the same time, we have been working with our government agencies to
identify unoccupied residential units and to make them available to aid
displaced New Yorkers. Like all New Yorkers, we will continue to do whatever we
can to help those in need."

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.

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
market-rate 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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