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Mayor Says City is Making Great Progress in Sandy Recovery

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Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city is making great progress in Hurricane Sandy recovery.

The mayor visited a house in Canarsie Thursday that's part of the Build it Back program.

The program was started to help rebuild homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy but has been criticized for moving too slow.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg initiated the program in June 2013, but as of April, no homes had been finished and work had only been started on nine.

City officials said the new administration is changing this.

"Not only are we seeing large numbers and growing numbers of construction starts, we finally have something in the year 2014 that we never saw in the year 2013. Completed homes. People whose lives are whole again because the city of New York did the right thing and helped them out," de Blasio said.

"We have really turned it around and changed it from a system of 'No, you can't do this for this reason, for this HUD reason or this buildings reason or this wetlands reason,' to a system of 'Yes, we can move you forward,'" said Amy Peterson, director of the Housing Recovery Office.

De Blasio said they've started 132 rebuilding projects and have already completed 30.

The program's goal is to start 500 construction projects and send out 500 checks by Labor Day.

He also said the city has sent out nearly 400 reimbursement checks, totaling more than $6 million.

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