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Some Homeowners Await Results From City "Rapid Repairs" Program

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TWC News: Some Homeowners Await Results From City "Rapid Repairs" Program
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The mayor announced earlier this month an unprecedented city program to farm out home repair work in storm-ravaged areas to general contractors. He promised a "rapid response" to get people back in their homes, but some Queens homeowners who have signed up for the program say it is not fast enough. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

The Kearns family is surviving on Beach 92nd Street in the Rockaway Beach section of Queens without any heat. The water from Hurricane Sandy poured into their basement and now they are also out of hot water.

"It's not rapid. We haven't heard from anybody and we signed up right away," said Steve Kearns, one of the family members.

Earlier this month, the Kearns signed up for a new program touted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg on November 9.

In his announcement, the mayor said, "Today we are launching a program that will begin returning people to their homes as early as next week. We are calling it New York City Rapid Repairs."

The response for some homeowners, like the Kearns, has not been as rapid as they hoped.

"So we are waiting to see them November 26, so we don't know if we are coming or going right now," said Dotsy Kearns.

Rapid Repairs promises to get people back in their homes with electricity and heat faster than if homeowners went at it alone. The city plans to flood neighborhoods with contractors to bring blocks like this back to life.

Residents in the Rockaways who were some of the first to sign up said on Tuesday they were waiting for answers and repairs.

"Once the form came up. I typed my information in, my FEMA number. That's the last I've heard of it. Nobody has called. Nobody has come by," said Matt Lyons, who lives across the street from the Kearns. "The time is ticking because it's getting cold right now, and people don't have what they need to survive down here."

City officials say the program promises to be a success, as 6,000 people have signed up.

"We will have crews on the ground as early as today actually making repairs based on those assessments. From our perspective, this is pretty fast," Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway said on Tuesday.

Those leading the contracting effort also say these things take time.

"Any response is a poor response until my home gets fixed up. But I would ask people to be patient," said Louis Coletti of the Building Trades Employers' Association.

Residents of the Rockaways say it is difficult for their lives to get back to normal, until they get the "Rapid Repairs" the city promised. For now, some of them will just be waiting.

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