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Attorneys Speak Out For Sandy Victims Still Out Of Homes

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Attorneys are speaking out for the remaining Hurricane Sandy victims still out of their homes, saying victims are not only having issues with the hotels housing them, but that the city is working too slowly to provide them alternate housing. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.

Meet Isaiah and Josaiah Davis. The twins may seem carefree, but in the past year, their family has lived in three shelters and two hotels. They evacuated their Far Rockaway home during Hurricane Sandy.

"We was walking in the water. It was freezing cold," one of the twins said. "Our pants was wet."

The family still hasn't found a home, and like dozens of other displaced Hurricane Sandy victims, they are still waiting for a place to live through a temporary disaster assistance program run by the city.

Attorneys at the Legal Aid Society say that bureaucracy is keeping the remaining storm evacuees from getting the help they need.

"We're really perplexed by the length of time it's taking them to process and how they seem to losing paperwork for people," said Judith Goldiner, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society.

The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development released a response, saying, "With newly available federal funding, HPD has been working to implement a rental subsidy program as expediently as possible to help evacuees return to stable and secure housing."

Finding a more permanent home is not the only problem facing evacuees, though. Attorneys with the Legal Aid Society say some hotels around the city, like the Sheraton near John F. Kennedy International Airport, are trying to get rid of Hurricane Sandy victims because they don't want to deal with them anymore.

"I was notified after 12 o'clock, 'cause 12 o'clock is checkout time, we had to evacuate out of the hotel," said Tonia Davis, the mother of Isaiah and Josaiah.

This is something that advocates say should not be happening.

"The law is that you can't just throw people out. These people have been there more than 30 days, so under New York law, you can't just throw them out. And you're getting paid," Goldiner said. "We just need a little more time for people to find their permanent housing."

If more help isn't provided to the remaining Hurricane Sandy evacuees, including the twins' family, Goldiner says she is prepared to take legal action against the city and uncooperative hotels by next week.

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