Staten Islanders Iffy on Housing Hurricane Homeless in Abandoned Jail

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The entrance to the now-closed Arthur Kill Correctional Facility is shown on Staten Island in New York, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.  The correctional center is the seventh prison, camp, or work release facility shuttered in 2011 as New York transferred about 2,600 inmates and 1,400 staff to its 60 remaining penal units in an effort to save millions of dollars and remove excess capacity.
Photo: Kathy Willens/AP/Corbis

With long-term, and even temporary, housing solutions not yet sorted out for everyone displaced by Hurricane Sandy, nervous eyes keep shifting toward Arthur Kill Correctional Facility, a medium-security Staten Island prison that closed last year. The city has maintained that the jail "is not on the table," but Councilman James Oddo tells the Post, "If there is no other viable option, it shouldn't be taken off the table because of a quote unquote stigma." About 5,200 people on Staten Island have applied for temporary housing through FEMA, but not all of them would accept this particular place, which would require a full infrastructure reboot to be inhabitable. "I lost everything, but I still have my pride," said one father of two. "My brother was once in that very prison, and my mother used to visit him regularly. She used to tell me how miserable he looked and how filthy and disgusting that prison was."