Court Rules Reprieve for Sandy Victims in Hotels

By Genevieve Belmaker, Epoch Times
April 30, 2013 12:55 pm Last Updated: April 30, 2013 1:41 pm

NEW YORK—A judge has blocked the city’s plan to end a program that would have put hundreds of New Yorkers out on the street on April 30. Hundreds of households made homeless by Hurricane Sandy and evacuated to hotels all over the city have been gradually moving out over the past several months. 

Of the 488 remaining households—families with children, adult couples, and single adults—196 were due to be removed from the hotel system on April 30. Another 292 households, either waiting for repairs on their homes, or for other types of local or federal assistance, have until May 30 to move.

NY State Supreme Court Justice Margaret A. Chan issued a temporary restraining order in response to a lawsuit filed earlier on Monday, providing a reprieve to those who faced prospects of living in the city shelter system, or on the streets if they could not find friends or family to take them in.

The suit, Alycia Sapp et al v. City of New York, was filed by the Legal Aid Society with Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, on behalf of all 488 Sandy evacuee households. 

The city is challenging Justice Chan’s order. Thomas Crane, chief of the general litigation division in the city’s law department, told the Wall Street Journal that they’d be in court Tuesday to “vigorously challenge it.”

Many of the households have been working with third-party providers to find housing, but they face a host of issues, including a shortage of acceptable affordable housing and ineligibility for assistance on the part of the Sandy victims. 

Additional reporting by Ananda West.