Federal officials announced today they’ll pay for temporary housing for people displaced by Hurricane Sandy for two weeks longer than planned.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and federal Department of Housing and Urban Development previously agreed to cover costs for hotel and motel rooms for people whose homes were left uninhabitable by the storm – but only through Thursday.

The extension is critical for tenants in Atlantic City’s Liberty Apartments, which has been closed since the storm hit six weeks ago due to a broken fire suppression system.

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“That includes the people in Liberty Apartments, and anyone else in New Jersey who’s in a temporary housing situation,” FEMA spokesman Paul Gardner said. “The (transitional shelter assistance) money administered through the state has been extended. And FEMA will continue to look at needs and make an assessment every two weeks.”

Workers started installing a temporary fire pump today at the building at New York and Baltic avenues.

That will enable to the 97-tenant complex to reopen while the permanent equipment is procured – but no sooner than next week by the time the apparatus is tested and inspected, building owner Mike Yeoushalmi said.

“We have spent tons and tons of money to get them back into the building,” Yeoushalmi said. “Everyone has been very cooperative with us, and we’ve done everything we can as well.”

Yeoushalmi estimated costs to rewire the building, purchase and install temporary and permanent fire pumps, and repair other, more minor damages total close to $500,000.

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