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Temporary housing available for members of the Hofstra community affected by Sandy

By Camilla Arellano and Maggie Urban-Waala Special to the Chronicle and Staff Writer

The University was able to offer a sort of sanctuary to the students, faculty and staff at Hofstra after a number of unfortunate circumstances fell upon them in the past few weeks.

Although the storm occurred two weeks ago, steps were immediately taken to ensure that students whose homes were destroyed in Superstorm Sandy have a place to stay during this fall semester.

Hofstra is allowing students, faculty and staff to temporarily reside in the residence halls while they find a place to relocate.

An email was sent out only two days after the storm informing students of this offer. By Thursday, Nov. 1, victims of the storm were already moving in to their temporary new “homes.”

Along with this opportunity is the more casual option of students extending their own rooms to friends and peers that need a place to crash or a room to get ready in.

“The temporary housing program is available until the end of the fall semester, giving students time to figure out their situation and finish what they’ve started this semester at Hofstra,” said Sandra Johnson, Vice President for Student Affairs.

Johnson explained that members of the faculty and staff are also being extended this opportunity, as many of them have been struggling through the past few weeks as well.

“Students in the residence halls have been very welcoming,” said Johnson, on current residents’ reactions to their new floor mates.

There are currently around 70 students taking advantage of this opportunity, including sophomore Kathy Cerra, whose home was devastated by the storm.

“Attempting to get to school from my grandmother’s house in Queens with only one car for 10 members of my family was nearly impossible,” Cerra recalled from the week before she moved into temporary housing. “We are so grateful for this.”

As grateful as the students may be for the opportunity to have a roof over their heads, they cannot help but think back to their destroyed and dismantled homes. One student was separated from her family, with her parents choosing to stay home while sending her and her sisters to a safer environment.

“I don’t like being apart from my family,” said one student who chose to remain anonymous, “but being here helps a lot.”

According to the student, help arrived at relatively quickly for those in desperate need of it. She acknowledged that once Hofstra agreed to award her temporary housing, she received the key to her new room by that afternoon.

While other actions involving finals and student’s current classes have been taken, this is just another way that Hofstra is making sure its students have a sense of peace while trying to finish out the semester.

“How we react in these situations is what makes Hofstra special,” said Johnson.

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