For a minute there, it looked like Mayor Bloomberg might get out of holding one of his now daily, ritualistic press conferences on the ongoing Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts—but thankfully for all comfort sweater and sign language translator aficionados out there, today is NOT that day. Around 4 p.m. Bloomberg time, the mayor will hold his latest press conference at City Hall—and we already know he'll be introducing "Rapid Repair," what a press release calls "a New, First-of-its-Kind Rebuilding Program for Homes Damaged by Hurricane Sandy." Watch below, and we'll update once it's all over.
Update: Bloomberg spent the majority of the press conference introducing the "Rapid Repair" plan, a new program the city hopes will return people to their Sandy-damaged homes starting next week—and FEMA will be footing the bill! Bloomberg said the plan will save city and state money because "contractors will be able to work on multiple buildings at once and not just one house at a time."
Starting Tuesday, homeowners will be able sign up for NYC Rapid Repairs by going to NYC.gov or by calling 311. They will need a FEMA ID number, which they can get by registering at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Over the weekend, those contractors will identify homes that will be in the first wave of the project—Bloomberg emphasized that they were going to try to hit anything they could do quickest/most easily first, including buildings that have been given green placards from inspectors (meaning they're structurally sound).
"The best temporary housing is permanent housing," Bloomberg said. "We want to get as many people back into their homes as we can, and it starts today." He also said, "In some cases you're gonna walk in here, sign a piece of paper saying nothing's wrong and Con Ed can turn on" the power again. In other cases, as with homes destroyed in Breezy Point, it won't be that simple. For those families, the city is "working on housing options which we'll have more to say about next week."