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Know Your Rights
Subject: Housing & Environmental Justice
Type: Media Coverage

Group finds rents have risen for Sandy victims in Staten Island

After losing their place to live during Hurricane Sandy, some survivors are facing an additional insult: much higher rents.

“On average, people are paying $188 a month more in their rent,” Melissa McCrumb, Sandy response coordinator for Make the Road New York, said.

The group announced their survey results at the Staten Island Ferry terminal Wednesday morning, where victims carried $188 worth of groceries to show where the money might have gone.

Make the Road New York surveyed 40 renters displaced by Sandy — and the average rent hike would have been much higher, Ms. McCrumb said, if not for an outlier who was paying less in rent, only because the family of five moved from a home to a single room.

“If you take out that one outlier, then the amount people are paying is actually closer to $300 a month more,” Ms. McCrumb said.

The survey was an initial pilot to let the group know where to focus its efforts, Ms. McCrumb said, and a larger study is set to be conducted.

Even before the storm, she said, many in the community were “rent-burdened,” paying more than they could afford. Since the storm, she’s heard stories of people doubling up in residences, sleeping in hallways or using all available space at night for mattresses.

“There are still streets in Midland Beach in Staten Island and other places where much of the rental housing has not been restored, so there’s a lower stock in housing, and lots of people looking for a place to live,” she said.

Additionally, many landlords are struggling themselves, and have raised the rent in order to help pay for repairs they must make.

“We don’t know 100 percent what the cause of it is and I’m sure it’s a number of factors,” she said.

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