The city's Rapid Repairs program seems ideal for homeowners struggling to get back on their feet after Hurricane Sandy, but one Queens homeowner stumbled into major red tape after signing up with the program. NY1's Susan Jhun filed the following NY1 For You report.
Like many New Yorkers in areas devastated by Hurricane Sandy, Pansy Oliver-Dones continues to cope with the extensive damage sustained to her home in Far Rockaway.
"The basement was totally submerged in water up unto my shoulders," says Oliver-Dones.
Unable to stay in her house, Oliver-Dones received rental assistance from FEMA and went to live with relatives in Brooklyn.
But desperate to return home, she decided to sign up with Rapid Repairs, a city program from free, essential repairs for property owners affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Oliver-Dones says crews assessed the damage and told her repairs to her boiler would be completed by Christmas. She says a new boiler was dropped off by one crew associated with the program but left uninstalled.
"Christmas has come and gone and I'm still without heat. I'm still with the old boiler, I'm still with the new boiler that's not working," Oliver-Dones says.
Oliver-Dones complained of poor project management, saying more than 30 people, including several electricians and plumbers, came through her house but failed to finish a job.
"It's getting to the point where I'm frustrated. Everybody's ringing my bell, all these different men are ringing my bell and they're coming through my home," she says.
Shortly after NY1 visited Oliver-Dones, crews finally returned to her home and finished installing the boiler, nearly a month after she applied to the program.
NY1 reached out to the city to find out more. A spokesperson for the city's Office of Housing Recovery acknowledges there have been problems, including backlogs that have led to confusion with customers, but says the office is marshaling as many resources as possible to get every home up and running.
The housing recovery spokesperson also says the program has put around 4,800 families back in their homes, out of the 10,000 that applied. He also says the agency is working to update city officials and homeowners daily on improvements to the program.