New York City's novel effort to hasten home repairs after Sandy has finished work on more than 20,000 houses and apartments.
Mayor Bloomberg said Friday that NYC Rapid Repairs has completed work on more than 99 percent of homes affected by the devastating storm, and it expects to complete all its work next week.
New York is the first city to respond to a natural disaster by deploying thousands of skilled construction workers to do free emergency repairs and help residents get back into their homes.
“It was a bold and innovative idea that returned people safely to their homes quicker than humanly possible,” Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro said. “In addition, it was a program that should be a showcase for the rest of the country for post-disaster recovery efforts.”
At its peak, Rapid Repairs worked on more than 200 homes a day, restoring essential hot water, heat and power. Some residents and advocates said the repairs weren't rapid enough in the early going.
But Michael Stewart, a storm victim, called the program an asset to his community.
“They were able to restore heat and power to a lot of houses and we were really appreciative of it. It was a great program,” Stewart said.
After Rapid Repairs completes its work on Sandy homes, it will continue helping homeowners with NYC Rapid Repairs After-Care, the mayor said.
Copyright Associated Press / NBC New York