Officials in New York are reportedly eyeing a recently-closed prison as temporary housing for people displaced by superstorm Sandy and this week’s nor’easter.
The New York Post reports that state officials are considering the Arthur Kill Correctional Facility on Staten Island to feed and house as many as 900 victims with nowhere else to turn.
“Our facilities staff have to go through it to determine what it would take to get it up and running for such a purpose,” Peter Cutler, a spokesman for the state Department of Corrections, told the newspaper. “Of course, the challenge is the fact that it was closed a year ago and all of the major infrastructure components, such as boilers and wastewater system, were deactivated.”
As many as 40,000 New Yorkers need shelter from extreme weather events, according to city estimates. On Staten Island alone, about 5,200 people applied for temporary FEMA housing, but only about two dozen people have been successfully placed, federal sources told the newspaper.
“It’s empty. They might as well use it,” said Rob Conigatti, 39, who lost his Dongan Hills home and is now staying with his extended family. “At least they have the right facilities. You can’t keep them in schools. The kids gotta go to school.”