NEW YORK (PIX11) — It’s been a long and difficult 18 months for Eileen Bendoyro.
“It’s very difficult because I cannot find a house. I cannot find an apartment,” said Bendoyro.
Bendoyro and her son, who has special needs, are currently staying with friends.
Last week New York City housing officials removed Bendoyro and several dozen other families from another temporary housing location; the Millenium Hotel in Lower Manhattan. They are all victims of Hurricane Ida. Bendoyro lost everything inside her flooded basement apartment.
Much has been made about the way in which the residents were removed – namely police officers who accompanied housing officials.
“Never in my life have I seen the police coming to see me,” said Bendoyro.
City officials told PIX11 News after the federal funding covering their housing ran out in December, the residents began receiving warnings their hotel stays would end Tuesday, Feb. 28.
Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) officials said the agency has been working with the residents to find them new homes or placement in the city shelter system.
In fact, regarding Bendoyro’s situation, an HPD spokesperson told PIX11 News: “The agency has offered Eileen at least 12 apartments, including units in Queens, but she has rejected all of them.”
But former hotel residents said there are still roadblocks, including uncooperative landlords who are unwilling to accept rental vouchers — and immigration issues.
“They say, ‘No, no, no, we don’t want the vouchers.’ For me, very difficult,” said Bendoyro.
Javier, who’s undocumented, said he’s been sleeping on his friend’s couch.
“They are telling me I’m not entitled to any help because I don’t have a Social Security number,” said Javier.