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Bloomberg Urges Landlords To Join Rapid Repairs Program To Restore Utilities

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg turned the heat up on the landlords that have failed to get power and heat back on in their buildings. Bloomberg said landlords must fix the problem themselves or sign up for the city's Rapid Repairs program, or face consequences. NY1's Grace Rauh has the story.

There are more than 800 apartment buildings in the city without power or heat and about 6,000 one and two-family homes without electricity as well.

When I am at my home and it's cold -- it's cold," one New Yorker said. "You just have to bear with it. I don't intend to stay there and get sick. I don't stay too long. I do what I got to do and I go."

The city's health commissioner, Thomas Farley, said being exposed to the cold for long periods of time can lead to hypothermia and can increase the risk of a heart attack and pneumonia.

"As the temperatures drop and the time without heat increases everyone is at risk," Farley said."

Bloomberg tried to pressure landlords into being more proactive about fixing the problem in his press conference Monday.

"Our hope is that everybody will sign up," Bloomberg said. "That the tenants will push the landlords to do so. That the landlords will do it because it is in their own interest. They are going to have a tough time collecting rents if they don't do something to get heat, hot water and electricity back."

The city does have the power to take some action against landlords who refuse to get help or do the work themselves.

"You have an obligation to maintain your rental units in a safe manner," Bloomberg said. "If you don't, you are breaking the law."

But the mayor does not want it to get to that point.

"We're expecting everyone to cooperate," he said. "This is new York. I'm sure there is going to be somebody that doesn't. And then we will worry about it."

Rapid Repairs is still in its beginning phases. The city had 100 repair teams on the ground Monday but Bloomberg said he hopes to have 500 teams by sometime next week.

The mayor said Rapid Repairs is going to restore services to 300 homes per day by next week and the program's rate will eventually double to about 600 homes per day.

So far, he said only about 50 projects have been finished.

"Some people are getting help," one woman said. "I haven't been helped yet. So I am waiting."

Bloomberg said the city is in a race against time to restore heat and power to homes without them before the cold weather is here to stay.

He also urged New Yorkers to go to the city's seven Restoration Centers if they lack access to heat.

To participate in the program, landlords can call 311 or visit nyc.gov.

NYC Restoration Centers

Throggs Neck: St. Francis de Chantal
190 Hollywood Avenue, Bronx, 10465
(Open Monday through Friday only)

Red Hook: Coffey Park
85 Richards Street, Brooklyn, 11231

Gravesend: SSA Building
10 Bouck Ct., Brooklyn, 11223

Fort Tilden
415 State Road (across from St. Genevieve's Church), Queens, 11697

Far Rockaway
10-01 Beach 20th St., Queens, 11691

Arverne: Shorefront B and C
68-20 Rockaway Beach Boulevard, Queens, 11692

Staten Island
1976 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, 10306

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