Carmen Perez, 40, was living under a terrace in a third floor apartment in Far Rockaway when Hurricane Sandy hit. Her AC crashed through the window, water flooded the closets, and she, her husband, their 3-year-old daughter, and their pitbull, Blackie, had to be evacuated by the fire department. They had no water, no heat, no electricity, and survived mostly on canned goods until December 12, when the family was finally able to move into a hotel as temporary housing provided by the city. By that time, though, Blackie had died of respiratory problems related to the mold.
Wikimedia LES after Sandy.
Late last month, Carmen's family, along with roughly 200 other households, received notice from the Department of Homeless Services that they'd be getting evicted from the hotels by April 30. Many have nowhere to go, and 125 people, several of whom have lost their jobs, do not qualify for NYCHA housing--partly because NYCHA lacks single-occupancy homes. Today, City Council members grilled DHS Commissioner Seth Diamond on the issue, and while he testified that the deadline would be extended to the end of May for some already transitioning to new housing, many Sandy victims would still be left out in the cold.
"It was Kafka-esque," Councilman Brad Landers told the Voice. "We had five people testify. The number of appalling answers was high."More »