News

New Yorkers Blast The City Over Slow-Reacting ‘Rapid Repairs Program’

City Admits It Is Overwhelmed By The Number Of Residents That Enrolled
Sandy storm damage in New Dorp on Staten Island. (Photo: CBS 2)

Sandy storm damage in New Dorp on Staten Island. (Photo: CBS 2)

Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than a month after Superstorm Sandy, many victims are still struggling to get back on their feet. Now, a program set up by New York City to bring rapid relief — is coming under fire.

To say Diane Camarada’s New Dorp home hasn’t been “rapidly” repaired is an understatement.

“I mean rapid to me means right away,” Diane Camarada said.

“Five weeks? Five weeks is not right away,” Domenick Camarada added.

The Camaradas were among the first to register for the city’s newly formed Rapid Repairs Program, more than two weeks ago.

“I signed up right after 12 midnight the day that we were supposed to because they said Tuesday, and I said I wanted to be first on that list,” Diane Camarada said.

“They actually came to my house … did their assessment and I haven’t heard from them,” Domenick Camarada added.

Rapid Repairs is a free program designed to bring emergency relief to the hardest hit victims. The program will temporarily restore necessities like heat, hot water and power so that people can get back into their homes to start permanent repairs. More than 7,000 people have enrolled, but only a fraction has actually been helped.

“I’ll tell you before you tell me – ‘Rapid Repairs’ is not rapid, yet,” one city official said.

The city admitted the program has been overwhelmed.

Officials tried to answer questions at the meeting, but many residents said they left feeling more confused.

“It got out of control and I said nothing’s gonna be accomplished,” New Dorp resident Bill Gagliardi said.

“We were able to ask questions, but nobody gave us the answers, straightforward answers,” Diane Camarada said.

The Camaradas were given the frustrating news that the program had been re-designed since they first registered — and they needed to do it all again, which they did.

And they’re hoping this time the paperwork sees the light of day.

The city said more than 10,000 homeowners have enrolled. Approximately 3,400 assessments have been conducted and close to 300 repair projects have started, but only 117 have been completed.

Have you enrolled? Do you like what you’ve seen so far? Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below …