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Temperature drop renders many in NYC homeless

New York City is facing a new crisis, a week after Hurricane Sandy flooded subways and left residents without power. There are concerns that some may not be able to get to the polls for Tuesday's presidential election.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned that up to 40,000 in New York City alone need to relocate because of below freezing temperatures.

"We don't have a lot of empty housing in this city. It's a problem to find housing. We're not going to let anybody go sleeping in the street," Bloomberg told a press conference. "But it's a challenge and we're working on this as fast as we can."

Even though the local power company made progress restoring power to areas of Manhattan over the weekend and 80 percent of subway service resumed, damages from the storm had a wider-reaching effect over homes in the city. A volunteer at a soup kitchen in Manhattan told the Reuters news agency that many people were without other necessities.

"The power is back, but we have no heat," said volunteer Adeline Camacho. "A lot of people haven't been able to bathe or stay warm. Last night was cold and this night is going to be much worse."

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Presidential candidates in final push

About 730,000 people in New York state still do not have electricity, including more than 130,000 in New York City. Officials have said that fuel delivery and distribution problems from Sandy were easing and that more gas was coming to the area to be distributed. However, they expect a fuel shortage to continue for several days.

Nearly one million people in the neighboring state of New Jersey did not have power or heating at the end of the weekend.

As local officials searched for a solution to the looming housing crisis, residents braced for another storm to hit this week, expected to bring heavy rains and winds.

Meanwhile, local officials in areas affected by the storm worried that displaced residents won't be able to reach polling stations on Tuesday for the presidential election.

kms/pfd (Reuters, AFP)

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