January 11, 2013

At Gillibrand Urging, FEMA Extends Deadline for Thousands of Superstorm Sandy Victims Living in Temporary Hotels and Motels

With Aid Set to Expire this Sunday, FEMA Provides Two-Week Extension for 2,400 New York Families Still Living in Hotels and Motels

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) today announced that FEMA granted a two-week extension that allows an estimated 2,400 New York residents displaced from Superstorm Sandy to temporarily live in hotels and motels through January 27, 2013. With an upcoming deadline looming for displaced residents who would have been forced to leave their temporary shelters this Sunday, Senator Gillibrand pressed FEMA Administrator Fugate earlier this week to extend their stay as they continue to rebuild in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

“This reprieve for New Yorkers displaced by the storm by FEMA is critically needed” said Senator Gillibrand. “We must ensure that families whose lives and homes have been uprooted by this unprecedented disaster have the emergency help and shelter they need to begin to rebuild. Congress must now fulfill its obligation and pass a fully funded disaster relief package to provide families and small businesses throughout the Northeast region the long term help required to rebuild.”

Earlier this week, Senator Gillibrand wrote in a letter to FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate, “I write to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to extend the deadline for the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, allowing eligible Hurricane Sandy survivors to remain in hotels and motels while they continue to search for more permanent housing…. TSA is a crucial resource for New Yorkers struggling to rebuild both their homes and their lives in the wake of this unprecedented disaster.”

Under the FEMA’s Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, eligible survivors unable to return to their homes because of damage caused by the storm are allowed to stay in participating hotels or motels until more suitable housing is available.

Currently, there are an estimated 2,360 eligible Sandy survivors in temporary housing under the TSA program, including those from areas hard-hit throughout New York City and Long Island. Since the storm, the program has served more than 97,000 New York households.

 

Full text of the Senator’s letter is below:

 

Dear Administrator Fugate:

 

I write to urge the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to extend the deadline for the Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program, allowing eligible Hurricane Sandy survivors to remain in hotels and motels while they continue to search for more permanent housing. Under the current deadline, the thousands of survivors presently enrolled in TSA will be forced to vacate participating hotels and motels on Saturday, January 13, 2013.

 

TSA has proven to be a critical component of FEMA’s Hurricane Sandy relief effort, serving 97,620 households in the State of New York alone. The program was originally set to expire on November 16, 2012, and I thank FEMA for extending the deadline through December 14, 2012, and again through January 12, 2013. These initial extensions were vital, affording many families safe and reliable shelter during a difficult holiday season. However, an additional extension is needed to assist the 2,362 households still unable to return to their homes. Considering New York’s increasingly tight rental market it is especially challenging to secure suitable longer term housing; therefore, the need for this extension is critical. Not doing so may very well mean homelessness for many.

 

I implore FEMA to extend the TSA deadline. TSA is a crucial resource for New Yorkers struggling to rebuild both their homes and their lives in the wake of this unprecedented disaster. Thank you for your attention to this matter.