“Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.
“Our recovery from Hurricane Sandy continues to move ahead on all fronts. That includes important steps to help New Yorkers get back in their homes, help students get back in their familiar schools and help neighborhood businesses get back on their feet. And let me just touch on what we’re doing in each area.
“First, to help homeowners, we brought six New York construction firms together as part of NYC Rapid Repairs – our Administration’s free program to help all homeowners who are still without electricity, or heat and hot water, because of Sandy. NYC Rapid Repairs teams will visit any storm-damaged house that is structurally sound, provide a free assessment of what needs to be done to get basic services restored, and then do the work for free.
“Here’s how homeowners can make that happen: First, you need to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. You can do that by going to NYC.gov, by calling 311 or by visiting one of the Restoration Centers we’ve established in the neighborhoods hit hardest by the storm. Once you get a FEMA ID, you can sign up right away for a Rapid Repairs assessment, and you’ll be contacted by a contractor to schedule a time for a plumber, electrician, and engineer or architect to visit your home. After they do an inspection, they’ll describe the repairs necessary to bring power, heat and hot water back. If you say ‘yes,’ then or later, they’ll schedule a time to complete the work for free. Agreeing to have an assessment doesn’t obligate you to have any work done.
“But we think NYC Rapid Repairs, which was made possible through a great partnership with FEMA, is the fastest and best way for people to get back in their homes. So far around 6,000 people have already signed up for assessments, and teams began making repairs on Wednesday.
“We’re also continuing to get more school buildings damaged by the storm re-opened so students can return to their familiar classrooms. Last week I visited one of those schools, PS 43 in the Rockaways, to welcome back some 1,200 students who had been displaced by Sandy. All told, Sandy disrupted the school routine of some 34,000 students. The good news? More than 26,000 of those students are back in the school buildings they normally attend. And thanks to nonstop repair work by the Department of Education’s Division of School Facilities and the School Construction Authority, many more students should be back in their normal classrooms in the coming week.
“We’re also helping more businesses that were affected by Sandy re-open their doors and repair the damage. Small business owners can apply for expedited, low-interest emergency loans of up to $25,000, as well supplemental grants, funded by the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, of up to $10,000. To find out more, call 311 or visit the City’s web site, NYC.gov.
“Sandy hit our city hard. But thousands of New Yorkers continue to step up to help: As City workers and contractors; as volunteers; and by donating generously to the relief effort. The long Thanksgiving weekend may be coming to a close, but the spirit of gratitude and community that defines this holiday – and that’s powering our post-hurricane recovery – are stronger than ever in our city.
“This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening.”