A temporary housing solution for the 110 Hurricane Sandy refugees at the Stony Point Conference Center was finalized Thursday afternoon, the center's manager told Newsday.
The temporary solution assures the storm victims they will have shelter at least until Dec. 7.
"I'm ecstatic that I don't have to move, said Nina Brabham, 51, who has been able to snag a room for the weekend. "I was just about to move all my stuff out to my car, I'm so thankful I don't have to. I'm trying not to cry because I know this isn't over, but I'm so happy right now."
The center had been preparing to evict the storm victims to accommodate customers who had booked rooms for weekend retreats. Center manager Paula Sandusky said the situation was eased when one of the center's customers canceled.
"We found rooms for everyone," Sandusky said. "One small group canceled, so we were able to free up one lodge."
Families continue to leave the shelter voluntarily as they find new homes. But many families have been unable to find places they can afford. From Friday until Sunday, those families will be bunking together at the Conference Center. The rooms will be equipped with a double bed, a single bed and a cot, Sandusky said.
"They had nowhere to go," Sandusky said. "They'll be tripling up. They have to be at least three in a room, sometimes four."
It took a four-hour meeting with local community organizers Thursday afternoon to come up with the plan, Sandusky said. Of the 110 people that have been housed since superstorm Sandy hit Oct. 29, 20 of them will be able to return to their homes Friday.
"We paired up each family with a church or community group to assess what their needs are," Sandusky said. "Whether it be a couch, stove, refrigerator, whatever they needed to move back in, we're going to help them with [it]."
About 30 people were able to find refuge at a relative's home or at a hotel set up through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
"On Sunday, those that need to come back can come back, and they can spread out again," Sandusky said.
Further meetings will take place next week to determine what will happen when the dorm-style rooms are again booked on the weekend.
"They'll have to leave again next weekend, but we're dealing with it day by day," Sandusky said. "That's always been our goal, to make sure everyone has somewhere to go. As much as we have deadlines, we now have a sense of what we need to make it work."