NYC Spends $1M on Empty Hotel Rooms Post-Sandy
City's strategy for housing homeless showing 'cracks,' reports WSJ
By Liam Carnahan, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2012 10:53 AM CST
Early morning traffic in Brooklyn moves slowly beneath the Manhattan skyline, Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 in New York.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)

(Newser) – New York City's attempts at housing the more than 1,000 people who still remain homeless following Hurricane Sandy aren't exactly praised in today's Wall Street Journal, which paints a picture of vacant hotel rooms and cramped accommodations. It was able to access documents that showed the city has been paying for 120 rooms at a Midtown hotel that haven't been used since mid-month. The $295 nightly rate has translated into a nearly $1 million tab for the empty rooms, which the city says FEMA will ultimately pay.

City officials say some of the seemingly vacant rooms are actually a "buffer" that will allow them to house more people immediately if needed. But "to have families crammed into hotel rooms that were meant for tourists and don't provide a proper way to store and prepare food" is far from ideal, says one legal expert. And the Journal notes that some of the homeless are now in their third or fourth housing situation since the storm, and are struggling with the lack of kitchen and inability to afford restaurant meals. But while a federal official working with FEMA calls NYC's approach unusual, he does note that disaster zones more typically have wide open spaces suited for temporary housing.

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Nov 29, 2012 4:13 PM CST
Only Liberals "like" FEMA, axe them to explain how this Federal Agency can be CLOSED due to bad weather? Duh, don't they have access to billions of dollars that the taxpayer pays (YES), so what is the purpose of we the People paying for a FEMA office, that no one will use when it's 78 and sunny? You people who keep electing Blooming Idiot are getting what you wanted, you elected him, and since he was not proactive in having electric generators ready, or stockpiling water, or advising people to batten down the hatches, then you're all ending up like the Liberals down in the bathtub called New Orleans. Mayor Nagin's strategy was to blame Mr. Bush and insist that the President of the United States had people under his control BLOW UP THE LEVEES. I heard the former Mayor of NY state that within 24 hours of 9/11 he had electric generators up and running. You people in NY lucked out and had the best and most qualified person in the Mayor's office at the exact moment in history that required it. You now elected someone who wanted, in fact insisted, that a marathon be run while there were people literally dying in the streets. 3.3 million people left NY dues to high taxes and idiotic regulations, even a tax on sliced bagels. And you people voted for this moron Mayor. Well guess what? Someone's taxes have to go up to pay for those 3.3 million who have left, because the Mayor is not going to cut services or stop adhering to monster union regulations. You chose to live there, you chose to vote in the Mayor, stop complaining, you made your bed, now sleep in it.
Nov 29, 2012 2:57 PM CST
A1e8a: FEMA also covers those who choose to live in earthquake and tornado areas. Do you also have a problem with them?
Nov 29, 2012 12:27 PM CST
FEMA has one major problem in any disaster they have helped with. FOLLOWUP. While it's great that they did this for those folks, the person that booked the rooms should have followed up to make sure they were being used and that things were running smoothly such as enough rooms or spreading people out or having kitchen facilities to cook with. We remember all the FEMA trailers puchased and then no follow-up to make sure they were even being used, or how about making a deal to return the ones not being used. Logistics of FEMA need some serious help to followup with what they put in place. Time is of the essence in a situation like this, but good logistics will save many folks and dollars wasted in situations like these.