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FEMA extends Sandy shelter program for 2 weeks

January 12, 2013 11:03:12 AM PST
Residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy can stay in hotels on the federal government's dime for just two more weeks.

The program had been scheduled to end Saturday, but officials announced that it would be extended until January 25. They will have to checkout on the 26th.

On Long Island, people like Lea Kalodes have 14 days to get their houses fixed and ready to move back into, but with contractors overloaded and federal money still on hold that seems nearly impossible.

"We called our landlord four nights ago and they said maybe it will be ready the first week in February, maybe the second week in February, so now I have to sweat, hoping I'll get another week," Julie Gilbert of Long Beach said.

The tock was clicking.

Hotels across Long Island were telling people that by Sunday they would no longer be able to stay at the hotels on FEMA's bill.

When word came of the two week extension there was a brief sigh of relief, but then the worrying just picked up again.

"I have a set of seven year old twins. Every day, I'm scared about what's going to happen," one said side.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says 5,400 households have used the agency's temporary housing program since Nov. 1.

FEMA official Christy Grant says fewer than 2,800 households are in the program now, but that number is expected to drop to around 1,100 by Saturday as people find longer-term housing.

The program in New Jersey has cost more than $17 million so far. The average stay is 25 days.

The government has extended the short-term housing program several times in two-week increments.

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Some information from The Associated Press

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