FEMA gave 296 NY & NJ Ida victims extended rental assistance. Advocates say that’s unacceptable.

opens in a new windowFEMA gave 296 NY & NJ Ida victims extended rental assistance. Advocates say that’s unacceptable. | WNYC.org | November 22, 2022

BY: Karen Yi

When the opens in a new window remnants of Hurricane Ida struck in opens in a new window September 2021opens PDF file , FEMA distributed short-term housing aid to 19,500 displaced residents in New Jersey and New York  — enough to pay up to two months of rent.

Gothamist found fewer than 300 — about 1.5% — of those New Jersey and New York residents opens in a new window received the additional rental assistance FEMA offered, meant to help disaster victims for as much as 18 months after the storm. The agency says it doesn’t know how many people applied for continued aid, but advocates say most homeowners they heard from were never told the extra assistance was available in the first place.

Some residents say they were forced to take on debt or stay in uninhabitable homes more than a year after the storm. Lawmakers and victim advocates in New Jersey say it’s unacceptable that such a small proportion of residents received extended rental help, and are calling on FEMA to explain why.

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