The mercury in New York and New Jersey has been 10 to 15 degrees F. below average and temperatures are expected to fall into the teens the next few nights, The New York Times said.
Many residents had boilers ruined by flooding from Sandy and have not had work completed on new heating systems. As of Tuesday construction teams had restored hot water, heat or electrical power to nearly 12,300 residents in 7,100 buildings, a spokesman for New York's Mayor's Office of Housing Recovery said.
Work is continuing on about 1,200 buildings, many of which still don't have heat.
The director of a coalition of 40 faith-based organizations in Queens called on the Mayor Bloomberg to spend more money getting heat in people's homes.
In Long Beach, a center giving away space heaters ran out. The site coordinator, James Hodge, says he doesn't have heat in his own home.
The chief of the volunteer Gerritsen Beach Fire Department, Doreen Greenwood, has gone out every night in an ambulance giving space heaters to anyone who needs one.