Hurricane Sandy made landfall in the New York City region on October 29, 2012 and within a matter of hours damaged or destroyed more than 650,000 homes, killed dozens of people, and turned the lives of thousands upside-down.1 More than half of the people affected by the storm were renters.2 Over the past year and a half Make the Road New York and allies have been tracking and responding to the unique needs faced by renters in Sandy-affected areas including skyrocketing rents, homelessness, overcrowding, looming evictions, dangerous and unsanitary housing conditions, nutritional insecurity and chronic displacement.
At the same time, most media coverage and official statements related to the storm focus on homeowners. Renters, who are more likely to be poor and of color, are rarely mentioned. This report begins to document the needs of renters affected by Hurricane Sandy in New York City by analyzing how renters were faring before the storm, how Sandy impacted renters, and the long-term effects of the storm and recovery on renters.
Our research shows that renters face particularly urgent needs and that as we move further away from the date of Sandy’s landing, renters face increasing hardship rather than moving closer to recovery.