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Protests Force De Blasio Announcement On Public Housing Repairs Inside

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Superstorm Sandy

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – More than 100 New York City public housing buildings damaged by superstorm Sandy will be getting new, federally funded boilers, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Sen. Charles Schumer announced Sunday.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported, the announcement comes nearly 17 months after the massive storm roared ashore.

“For many in our city’s public housing, the hardship is still real,” said Schumer.

The senator said he brokered a deal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fully pay for replacement boilers at 110 NYCHA buildings in Coney Island, Rockaway and the Lower East Side. FEMA will spend more than $100 million for the boiler replacement project.

“Red tape was keeping the lights off and the water cold,” said Schumer.

The new boilers are expected to start being installed in six months. FEMA will also reimburse NYCHA $56 million for the temporary boilers that were installed but have been unreliable. The boilers cost the city $3 million a month.

“A lot of the taxpayers’ money will be saved because we’ll be making serious solutions, not just Band-Aids,” said de Blasio.

“It’s not fair after a hard day at work to come home to a cold apartment with no hot water,” Schumer said. “They’re not asking for something crazy, something unreasonable. They’re asking for the most basic of necessities.”

The 60 new boilers will use natural gas instead of oil and be designed to resist damage in case of another flood.

The Sunday press conference drew some extra guests, as about fifty protestors crowded a sidewalk near the Stanley Isaacs Houses to speak out against an Upper East Side transfer station, 1010 WINS reported.

The press conference was planned as an outdoor event but was brought inside to avoid protestors, CBS 2’s Steve Langford reported.

Police were eventually called in to guard a door while staffers moved the announcement again after protestors began gathering outside of windows.

Following the announcement Mayor De Blasio was hustled out of a back door, away from demonstrators.

“I’m very surprised. I voted for the man. Very surprised that he eluded this crowd,” Upper East Side resident, Stephen Gross said.

De Blasio has said the he supports building the waste station because it would end a “history of unfairness” in relying on the outer boroughs to handle the city’s garbage.

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