1 Cool Place Hurricane Homeless (And ‘Regular’ Homeless!!!) Could Live Is Vacant Real Estate

There’s some discussion over exactly how many people need housing assistance after the hurricane and how state and federal governments will provide it—estimates range from 10K to 40K displaced people and options include “rental units, hotel and motel rooms, trailers and prefabricated units.” Mayor Andrew Hardwick of Freeport, New York had a really great idea, and has “asked the federal government to intercede with banks to convert two private housing developments that were completed but went unoccupied after the housing market collapsed.” 

Occupy worked to reclaim foreclosed properties for “real” homeless people, and it’d be incredible if the government was spurred by this storm to do it in a legal and permanent way. Is it possible? Sure, especially with foreclosed properties. As the Atlantic reported earlier this year: “It comes down to a housing philosophy. Though the city has the right to take over properties in tax foreclosure (in the 1970s and 1980s, it took over tens of thousands of spots this way), it prefers to rely on private developers to buy and refurbish the properties.”

Picture the Homeless, a Bronx-based homeless advocacy group, did a survey of vacant properties in all five boroughs in 2011. In their 2012 report on what they found, they said that “there are enough vacant properties in just 20 community districts, a third of the city, to potentially house 199,981 individuals essentially clearing out the shelter system!” 



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