Last Wednesday, the situation was dire: Three hundred people made homeless by Hurricane Sandy had been living in hotels for nearly a year when the city stepped in and said the program needed to end. The evacuees would need to move into homeless shelters, although many of them were just weeks from getting back into permanent housing. They had no desire to start over in the city's cramped, chaotic shelter system. At a press conference on the steps of City Hall organized by New York Communities for Change, several dozen of the evacuees said they weren't going anywhere and pleaded with the city for a little more time.
Anna Merlan Cherell Manuel, one of the Sandy evacuees at last week's press conference. "They act like we asked to be here," she said of city officials. "We're victims of a devastation."
But there was no official response from the Bloomberg administration. Judith Goldiner, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society, who have been working with the evacuees, felt despondent. Then, late Thursday, she got a surprising call. "I got word we had an anonymous donor of $1 million," she says. "It's crazy."More »