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November 21, 2012

Sandy Adds to N.Y.'s Burden on Housing and Hunger

Already strained by record-breaking numbers of homeless people, New York's emergency-housing system is being further stretched by damage from Superstorm Sandy, writes The New York Times. Advocates contend the disaster exposed and worsened existing shortcomings in the city's programs for the homeless.

With thousands of people turned out of homes damaged or destroyed by the storm, the city has repeatedly relocated evacuees on short notice from schools initially used as emergency shelters to armories, hotels, and substance-abuse facilities. Steven Banks of the Legal Aid Society gave the city high marks for executing evacuations in the immediate wake of the storm but said it "didn't have a recovery plan" for families left homeless.

Sandy has also sent demand at New York food pantries and soup kitchens spiking, says Reuters, citing a post-storm study by New York City Coalition Against Hunger.

In a supplement to its annual report on hunger—which found that one in six New Yorkers were already suffering from food insecurity before the storm hit—the coalition said a spot survey of about 100 food-relief agencies found a surge in need, with nearly two-thirds of the groups reporting an increase in patrons. A third of the groups said some of their stock was ruined by direct storm damage or loss of power.