Broken tree in Bayside, Queens

Hurricane Sandy smashed New York and surrounding areas with an overall death toll now at more than 110 fatalities. As of Sunday, about 120,000 customers in New York and New Jersey still struggling to rise above the darkness as they still remain without power.

In an attempt to speed up recovery efforts for those displaced from the super storm and the nor ‘eastern that stuck after, New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg  announced “NYC Rapid Repair” on Friday.

The program began yesterday, whereas the mayor is trying to get people back into their homes in a timely fashion. The program will allow those whose homes were damaged in the storm receive home repairs from city contractors.  All that the individual has to do is to  go to a city restoration center, get a Federal Emergency Management Agency number and sign up.

Bloomberg said in a press conference, “You have to have a FEMA ID number. The FEMA ID number will be given you regardless of whether you have insurance, regardless of how much damage you have, regardless of whether you have a mortgage.”

“Just call FEMA, they will give you a number and then you have to just ask for the assistance,” Bloomberg continued.

After seeking the aid, a contractor will assess any damaged and as Bloomberg stated, “within a short time, the work will be done.”

Who will foot the bill? Bloomberg expects FEMA to pay for most of the repairs.

This may come to a relief to those who are  trying to pick up the pieces after the disaster. This also can help ease some worries about getting scammed from contracting companies. Since the city is behind this, people will be able to trust that they won’t be getting ripped off- which would cause insult to injury after already loosing so much.

Staten Island resident and volunteer of 192 Ebbitts Street, Gina Kohm told the Excelsior that the neighborhood of New Dorp was experiencing a problem with contractors from other states coming in with scams.

Although the contractors on Staten Island have donated so much of their time gutting houses, bring gas and pumps, out-of-staters have approached victims claiming that if the person hands over $4500 in cash up front, a team will come to do repairs. The overall cost they estimate will be $9000.

Kohm spoke of the con artists claiming 30 men will work on the site, when in reality there are only  5 guys who are just coming in to take advantage of whole blocks of people.

“There is sick twisted people out there. And it’s not Staten Island doing it; it’s people coming out to take advantage of people,” she told the Excelsior.

“[People] Their vulnerable now; they’re going to fall for anything.”

Now with “Rapid Repairs,” hopefully the victims of Hurricane Sandy can finally get the help they need to mend their broken homes and lives in an honest and timely manner.

To Contact FEMA, call 1 (800) 621-FEMA (3362)

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