With temperatures dropping and a storm forecast for later this week, New York and New Jersey officials are struggling to house tens of thousands of people left homeless by Hurricane Sandy.

About 30,000 to 40,000 New York City residents were without shelter in the wake of Sandy, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Sunday. Around half of that number are public-housing tenants who faced knocked-out boilers and electrical systems after the storm.

Temperatures in the New York region hover around mid- to low-30s at night, about 10 degrees below normal. The National Weather Service is predicting a coastal storm that will land Wednesday and Thursday, with heavy rains, high winds and more coastal flooding, although not to the extent of Sandy’s destructive force.

More than 86,000 New York area households have registered for federal disaster assistance, at a cost of $97 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We don’t have a lot of empty housing in this city,” Bloomberg said at Sunday’s press conference. “We are not going to let anybody go sleeping in the streets or go without blankets, but it’s a challenge, and we’re working on that as fast as we can.” The mayor estimated that 20,000 New Yorkers could still be homeless in two weeks.

The majority of people who need shelter will be placed in apartment buildings and hotels, according to FEMA director Craig Fugate. However, current inventory presents a challenge in areas such as Long Island, where single-family housing is the norm and there are fewer apartments, Fugate told the New York Times. “It has got to make sense for the neighborhood… We are going to bring all potential housing solutions and look at what works best for each neighborhood.”

Over 1.8 million utility customers were without power as of Sunday, the New York Times reported. The number included more than 900,000 people in New Jersey, 280,000 customers of the Long Island Power Authority and 198,000 Con Edison customers, nearly half of which are in Westchester County.

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