Saturday November 10, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday announced a program to speed up repairs to homes damaged by Superstorm Sandy by assigning contractors to specific areas.

Bloomberg said the program, called NYC Rapid Repair, is aimed at getting as many people as possible back into their homes by the end of the year.

He said that starting Tuesday people whose homes were damaged in the storm can go to a city restoration center, get a Federal Emergency Management Agency number and sign up for the program. He said that once a homeowner signs up, a contractor will go to the person’s home, assess the damage and "within a short time, the work will be done."

"Until today homeowners would have largely been left to fend for themselves to get an electrician or a contractor to get this work done," Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg said that contractors will work in particular areas and will choose their subcontractors. He said he expects FEMA to pay for most of the work.

Bloomberg said the program will save money because contractors will be able to work on multiple buildings in the same area at once. He called it "an innovative and unprecedented program."