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A Manhattan judge has ruled that hundreds of Sandy evacuees currently living in hotel rooms paid for by the city can stay until at least mid-May.

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After meeting with attorneys in chambers for almost 30 minutes, Judge Margaret Chan announced today that the 365 Sandy evacuees with no current housing alternatives can stay in the hotel rooms until May 15.

The city had said they would be evicted from the hotels on April 30, after funding for the program ended.

Attorneys for the city said that they planned on extending the deadline to the same date regardless of how the judge would have ruled today.

The city's Law Department said that the city had spent close to $60 million on helping households transition into stable living arrangements. Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told reporters last week that the hotel program had cost the city $40 million.

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Hundreds of displaced Superstorm Sandy victims are safe from eviction from dozens of hotels paid for by the city — at least until tomorrow afternoon.

A New York Supreme Court judge will hear arguments tomorrow from the city and attorneys representing five evacuees who face eviction from the city's hotel program, which was supposed to terminate at the end of April .

While the city said on Monday night that the restraining order wasn't properly processed, the evacuees housed in any of the more the 50 hotels citywide can count on at least one more night.

Arguing on behalf of the five evacuees, the Legal Aid Society says that the city needs to secure an extension for those New Yorkers with no other housing options, which includes at least 125 households.

During a City Council hearing last Friday, Department of Homeless Services Commissioner Seth Diamond told Council members that another 71 households rejected the options given to them by DHS and its hired caseworkers.

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A group of evacuees left homeless by Superstorm Sandy are suing to stay in hotels that the city says they need to leave by tomorrow.

Six months to the day that Sandy hit New York City, five individuals filed a lawsuit today to prevent the city from following through with its deadline to end its temporary hotel program for Sandy victims.

Calling the city's deadlines "arbitrary," the suit seeks to force the city to keep paying for hotels until the residents can secure permanent housing. The lawsuit also says that the city's evictions notices were served without a fair hearing, which attorneys say does not comply with federal and state law.

"They have attempted to use whatever resources have been made available to them," said the complaint, "but have been stymied by poor case work, a lack of adequate housing resources and the failure of government agencies to timely implement forthcoming federally-funded housing resources."

The news came on the heels of a rally held in front of City Hall today, where a range of labor, faith and reform groups asked the city to extend the hotel deadline. They also called on the city to address the invasive mold problem in afflicted housing and properly track how the city spends money devoted to Sandy recovery.

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg doesn't dispute a recent report that homelessness has hit a high not seen in decades — with over 50,000 people a night staying in the city's shelters — but he refuses to accept criticism that his administration has failed to tackle the problem.

Instead, he says the state cut the key Advantage rent subsidy program, and that the Coalition for the Homeless, which released the report, backed that decision.

Capital New York reports that Bloomberg said this at a news conference earlier today:

We are having fewer people coming into the homeless system .... They are staying longer. Why? Because the state cut the Advantage program out. When they cut their money out, we also lost the federal monies. Without those subsidies, people don't move out. So if you want to reduce the population, you've gotta go and get those monies back. Keep in mind, it was the Coalition [for] the Homeless that wanted to kill that program and hurt the people in the shelters. So it's a little bit disingenuous for them to start talking about it.

Mary Brosnahan, president of the Coalition for the Homeless, responded in a statement:

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