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Rapid Repairs restores 3,000 buildings in boro

TimesLedger Newspapers

NYC Rapid Repairs, a first-of-its-kind program intended to pair people displaced by Hurricane Sandy with contractors and skilled workers who can make needed electrical, heating system or other repairs, has helped make it possible for 6,500 families to return home to Queens, city officials said Wednesday.

More than 3,300 buildings in the borough had work completed through the program, and 12,000 residences within more than 6,000 buildings throughout the city had repairs finished, they said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg lauded the program, saying it has helped families take a major step toward recovery from one of the worst natural disasters in the city’s history.

“It is another indication that this administration is committed to continue to help residents rebuild their homes and their lives after Sandy,” he said.

Under Rapid Repairs, the city has employed contractors and skilled construction workers to make free-of-charge repairs to residential buildings damaged in the storm. The temporary repairs to basic services, such as electricity, heat and hot water, allow families to return home as they take on the necessary long-term repairs.

City officials said they estimated 6,000 families who live within 3,000 buildings citywide are currently waiting for repairs to begin, and fewer than 8,000 buildings were undergoing repairs as of Sunday.

Under Rapid Repairs, high-density buildings such as apartment complexes were given first priority by the city in order to return the largest number of people home as quickly as possible.

Deputy Mayor Caswell Holloway said the program is on track to helping thousands of additional families in the coming weeks.

“Thanks to the talent and dedication of New York City’s construction industry and the thousands of skilled workers who build our city every day, thousands of families have been able to return to their homes in record time,” he said in a statement.

The mayor’s office did not provide a specific time frame for completing repairs on the remaining buildings, but city officials said Rapid Repair crews are working diligently to get as many homes completed in as short a time as possible.

City officials said many displaced families are staying with friends or relatives as they wait for repairs to be made to their homes, while others are staying in hotels paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or the city.

People still in need of housing can call 311 to work with the city on a plan for housing, city officials said.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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