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Queens Chronicle

Rapid Repairs deadline extended to Jan. 14

Sandy recovery program overhauled

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Posted: Thursday, January 10, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:23 am, Thu Jan 17, 2013.

The city has extended the deadline to sign up for Rapid Repairs — its free program aimed at making temporary repairs to homes damaged by Hurricane Sandy and make them liveable.

People who wish to sign up for the program must now sign up before Jan. 14. The deadline had been last Dec. 31.

Rapid Repairs was created a few weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck as an effort to conduct temporary home repairs — including replacing furnaces and water heaters — so that residents could live in their homes with heat, hot water and electricity while more permanent repairs are being made. The city hires contractors to conduct the work and it is paid for through emergency disaster relief funding.

New registrations must take place at one of the restoration centers. For residents of Howard Beach, Broad Channel and the Rockaways, the closest restoration centers are in Arverne at 68-20 Rockaway Beach Blvd. or and 1904 Surf Ave, in Coney Island, Brooklyn.

Riddled with problems and complaints, Rapid Repairs underwent reorganization over the holidays, which sought to remedy issues with the program. In many cases, residents who signed up for Rapid Repairs were waiting up to six weeks for work to be done.

One of the changes divides the disaster zone into regions to prevent contractors from being assigned to jobs far away from each other. Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) said some contractors were doing jobs in both Staten Island and the Rockaways on the same day.

“That meant many contractors spent more time in traffic on the Belt Parkway than working on homes,” Ulrich said at a meeting of Community Board 10 on Thursday.

To qualify for Rapid Repairs, a homeowner must live in the five boroughs, have a one- or two-family home with a FEMA number, though owners of multi-family buildings do not need a FEMA number. The home must also be structurally safe.

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