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PR- 031-13
January 20, 2013


Unprecedented Collaboration with FEMA Continues to Help New Yorkers Return to Their Homes

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Operations Caswell F. Holloway and FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Michael Byrne today announced NYC Rapid Repairs has completed work on more than 10,000 residences in communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. The milestone was reached on Thursday, January 17. Under Rapid Repairs – the first program of its kind to address housing needs after a natural disaster – the City has deployed dozens of contractors and thousands of skilled construction workers to make emergency repairs on residential properties affected by Hurricane Sandy. These emergency repairs are free of charge, allowing residents to return to their homes. Emergency repairs include the restoration of heat, power and hot water, and other limited repairs to protect a home from further significant damage.

“So far, the groundbreaking Rapid Repairs program has helped more than 10,000 families take a major step down the road to recovery from one of the worst natural disasters in this city’s history – and it is on track to help thousands more,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “It is another indication that this Administration is committed to continue to help residents rebuild their homes and their lives after Sandy.”

Typically after a disaster of Sandy’s magnitude, families are forced to re-locate for extended periods of time to shelters and other forms of temporary housing that ultimately delays the real recovery that can only begin in earnest when families are back in their homes. Founded on the premise that the best temporary shelter is permanent shelter, Rapid Repairs is restoring the basic services – electricity, heat and hot water – that families need to return home. The assistance provided through Rapid Repairs does not impact the assistance that families are eligible to receive through FEMA’s Individual Assistance program.  All work is supervised by the City and performed up to the relevant safety and building codes—which means homeowners can be confident that they are getting high quality work without having to worry about scheduling contractors and the other potential challenges that these basic home repairs can pose.

“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; and in the coming weeks, we’ll help thousands more” said Deputy Mayor Holloway. “I’d like to thank FEMA director Craig Fugate and FCO Mike Byrne for their support and partnership, and all of the contractors who have contributed to this unprecedented and truly massive effort that will continue until every home is repaired.”

“This was an innovative approach to a unique housing situation,” said FEMA FCO Byrne. “This is more than just a number, this represents over 10,000 families who have been able to leave shelters or hotels and get back into their homes.”

“Rapid Repairs was created with the idea that the best way to fill the temporary housing need after a disaster is to return residents to their homes. This program has helped more than 10,000 families do just that,” said Brad Gair, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Housing Recovery Operations.

“Rapid Repairs is a testament to this Administration’s courage and skill to tackle – and succeed -  at an effort of this magnitude. I am proud to have helped so many New York City residents get a jump-start on the road to full recovery,” said Rapid Repairs Program Director Kathryn Mallon, who is on hiatus from the Department of Environmental Protection, where she runs a $14 billion capital program.

As of today, 6,072 buildings have been completed; 10,492 residential units have been completed; work has begun in 7,878 buildings, and 4,303 buildings are remaining. Rapid Repairs has also provided significant construction opportunity for the City’s Minority and Women Business enterprises. Rapid Repairs employs nine prime contractors and 140 subcontractors, including 31 Minority and Women Business enterprises. Those Minority and Women Business enterprises have been awarded $12 million in contracts so far.

Rapid Repairs is New York City’s implementation of FEMA’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program, created to address the unique housing challenges created by Hurricane Sandy. STEP funds emergency residential essential and necessary repairs such as restoration of temporary electricity, heat and hot water so that survivors can remain in their homes while permanent repair work continues.


Marc LaVorgna/Julie Wood   (212) 788-2958

Peter Spencer (Housing Recovery Operations)   (212) 615-8085


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