Some complaints about Rapid Repairs program - New York News

Superstorm Sandy

Some complaints about Rapid Repairs program

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Throughout storm damaged areas, thousands are still without electricity or heat in their homes. Some are signing up for the city's free Rapid Repairs program. But not everyone's thrilled with the process.

Yaffa Epstein's Rockaway Beach home has been without power since Superstorm Sandy and is still without electricity more than a week after she enrolled in the Rapid Repairs program, which offers free, basic electrical and heating system repairs so people can move back into their homes.

She wants to get plugged on before the mold wins the war for her walls.

Another Rockaway Beach resident who is living in her cold, dark home told us a similar story. She didn't know where to turn after she says she got the runaround from rapid repairs.

So, like Yaffa, she contacted us.

But it was a different picture in the Midland Beach section of Staten Island. Fox 5 came along as a Rapid Repairs team went to work in Jessica Santiago's house. They're replacing the breaker box and all the salt water soaked electrical wiring so this working mom can move back in with her two daughters.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg established the program so contractors could make the basic repairs, and home and property owners would not have to wait for insurance checks to arrive. It's free. FEMA is picking up the tab. 

We asked the city why the women we spoke to were experiencing such problems. Julie Woods of the mayor's office said the women should call 311 back and will be taken care of.

She said the city has improved and streamlined the program this week, so that anyone who calls 311 for Rapid Repairs should get a call for an appointment within 48 hours. The program is fully staffed with contractors, so workers can be sent out quickly and the power can come back on.

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