With temperatures dropping and a storm with 40- to 50-mile-per-hour winds predicted to descend on the city on Wednesday, city officials are scrambling to keep displaced and homeless New Yorkers safe and warm.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporter that s many as 40,000 people could need new housing after the storm, half of whom are public housing residents.
At a Brooklyn public school on Monday, he reminded New Yorkers of the signs of hypothermia, like shivering and confusion, warning people to watch for this in themselves and those around them.
Daytime and overnight warming shelters have been set up around the city. The 200 daytime shelters are operating from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with city buses offering transportation from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. to a handful of overnight shelters in every borough except the Bronx.
"Every New Yorker who needs a warm place to live and a roof over his or her head is going to have one," Mayor Bloomberg promised.
Mayor Bloomberg created a new post on Monday, Director of Housing Recovery Operations, and appointed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Brad Gair to be responsible for coming up with a plan to house the thousands of New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy.
As of Monday morning, 4,472 people remain in general evacuation shelters, with an addition 776 in special needs medical shelters.
The city has now consolidated the original 76 shelters down to 15.
After assessing buildings in Zone A, the city found106 buildings without electricity, and about a quarter of the elevator pits and boiler rooms still needed to be "de-watered."
Many shelters have been struggling since the storm. In the early aftermath of the storm, most problems revolved around generators. The Lower East Side's Seward Park shelter's generator was overwhelmed after being inundated by charging cell phones, and Matt Krivitch at the Bowery Mission told Metro they had operated with a single generator.
"We've got one generator trying to keep our cooler and freezers running so that we don't lose our food, and we're still serving 600-800 meals a day," Krivitch said last week. "Some of the other shelters in the area that are unable to provide meals are sending people over to eat here."
Other shelters have been completely destroyed by flooding, including the Ali Forney Center's intake location at West 22nd Street near the Hudson.
The program director there, Steven Gordon, told Metro that they still have not been able to find many of the "actively homeless" teens they used to serve there, who would come in to shower, be fed, and receive any necessary medical or psychiatric services.
"We don't know where they went in that interim," Gordon said. "After we have our new space confirmed, we're going to post a sign on our door telling them exactly where we're at, and hopefully we'll be able to reach them again."