FEMA increases rental housing rates for Sandy victims

Nor'easter adds to woes in New York and New Jersey
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Survivors of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey can now receive 25 percent more money for temporary rental housing than the standard rates.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Nov. 7 that it has increased the amount it can provide storm survivors in those states to 125 percent of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's rates for fiscal 2013.

HUD designs those rates to be high enough to allow for a wide selection of housing but low enough so that as many units as possible can be rented and provided to low-income families, FEMA says.

Recipients of housing assistance money can rent properties that cost more than the funds will cover, but they have to pay the difference.

In Manhattan, HUD's rates would contribute $1,474 for a two-bedroom unit. That figure rises to $1,842.50 with FEMA's announced increase. For Ocean County, N.J., the increased rate for a two-bedroom is $1,762.50.

Residents of the region face new problems though after a nor'easter brought several inches of snow to areas still recovering from the destruction of Hurricane Sandy.

Snowfall topped 7 inches in parts of New York City and 8 inches in parts of Long Island, and four counties in New Jersey recorded more than half a foot, according to unofficial observations taken Nov. 7 and Nov. 8 and published by the National Weather Service.

Power outages that began during Hurricane Sandy have persisted in some places, and FEMA has directed residents of New York and New Jersey to those states' public shelters and warming centers.

On its official blog on Nov. 6, FEMA also said it pre-positioned resources such as food, water, blankets and generators to make sure they were available if needed after the nor'easter hit.

For more:
- go to the FEMA announcement about temporary housing assistance
- calculate HUD rates for any county
- go to the National Weather Service snowfall reports

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