State Senator Malcolm A. Smith Urges Mayor Bloomberg To Approve The Signing Of Apartment Leases For Hurricane Katrina Evacuees

Malcolm A. Smith

January 18, 2006

State Senator Malcolm A. Smith (D-Queens) today released a letter he wrote to Mayor Bloomberg regarding the critical housing situation affecting the Hurricane Katrina evacuees in New York. The Queens lawmaker is asking for New York City to consider signing apartment leases on behalf of hurricane evacuees.

"For the evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, now is a critical transition period. New York City has welcomed the evacuees with open arms and provided shelter for them during this difficult time. However, now is the time to find more permenant residences for all of the displaced families still residing in hotel shelters. I urge the Mayor to approve the signing of the apartment leases on behalf of the evacuees or finding a third party non-profit housing organization to partner with to accomplish this," said Senator Smith.

Senator Smith said he understands the problems the City might face by directly signing leases for the evacuees, which is why the Mayor should consider a direct partnership to accelerate the relocation process.

"If a partnership is not feasible, I would suggest that the Mayor consider creating an entirely new entity, that would enter into fully-reimburseable leases with Hurricane Katrina evacuees in New York City. This issue deserves further exploration so that every option can be considered and the best outcome can be achieved," said Senator Smith.

"I appreciate all that Mayor Bloomberg and the City of New York have done to welcome Katrina families. I know that New York City has the resources and the desire to help these families find a more permenant housing situation, and I am confident that this matter can be solved in a way that is beneficial for both the families and the City," said Senator Smith.