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As was the case in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, disaster victims in New York and New Jersey are now being promised temporary government-paid hotel stays, if their housing situation (or lack thereof) warrants it. Though, don't go thinking these folks are headed for The Plaza or anything. At this point, all they care about is a dry, warm bed and a toilet that flushes.
Here's how it works: FEMA agrees to foot the bill for pre-arranged hotel stays that have been assigned to victims by a third party contractor (whose name is Corporate Lodging Consultants, in case you were wondering). The cost of the rooms is set at a fixed rate--the same rate paid for all federal employees who stay in hotels while on business.
The trouble is, even with that cushy government discount, rooms in NYC are still kinda pricey. Like $295/night pricey.
Which is why FEMA is now stipulating that, while eligible victims will indeed receive hotel rooms, the government won't pick up any room service or telephone charges.