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Sandy Victims Get Priority on 2,500 Vacant Apartments

Deal with private landlords will move storm victims out of hotel rooms and into apartments.

Displaced victims of Hurricane Sandy will get priority on 2,500 vacant apartments in New York City, thanks to a deal by private landlords and government officials, according to the Wall Street Journal (paywall).

According to the paper, tens of thousands of people have been living in hotels and shelters, or staying with family members. Federal Emergency Management Agency numbers say that more than 96,000 households in the region are eligible for housing aid.

Though not all details have been finalized, officials decided to move forward with the plan this week, in order to alleviate the housing crisis brought on by the storm.

Apartment listings will begin to show up this week on Urban Edge, a private no-fee apartment listing website, according to officials. Apartments are located across the five boroughs, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis to displaced storm victims.

Currently, Urban Edge is featuring about 25 listings, ranging from an $875-per-month studio in Staten Island, to a two-bedroom unit in Hells Kitchen for $5,695.

The length of the leases will generally be 12 months, for apartments offered at below-market rates, though many landlords will offer to option for tenants to break their leases without penalty.

A deal with Common Ground, a nonprofit affordable-housing developer that leases units directly from owners and offers shorter-term subleases, hopes to be another solution.

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