One-stop center opens in Far Rock

Photo courtesy Michael Bloomberg
By Rich Bockmann

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was in Far Rockaway Tuesday, where the city was opening one of seven one-stop centers to help those communities most affected by Superstorm Sandy.

“We are taking our ongoing relief efforts an important step further by setting up one-stop city offices that make it simpler and more convenient for New Yorkers to get the help they need,” Bloomberg said outside the center, at 10-01 Beach 20th St. “The restoration centers will be an invaluable resource for the New Yorkers most impacted by the storm and for the communities hit hardest.”

The mayor said the city had opened four centers and planned to open three more, including one in Breezy Point, later in the week.

The centers house the NYC Restore initiative, which brings together assets from the city, state and federal governments as well as from nonprofit groups all under one roof.

Visitors can find information on how to receive food stamps, apply for temporary housing and get access to financial assistance such as loans for small businesses.

Linda Gibbs, the deputy mayor of health and human services, said the centers would be “nimble” and add services the communities requested.

The centers will also be one of the gateways for homeowners to participate in NYC Rapid Repairs, the program designed to help the areas hardest hit by flooding get their power back on as quickly as possible.

“This program is especially crucial for homeowners who can’t turn the power back on before repairs are made,” Bloomberg said.

Even after the Long Island Power Authority and Con Edison repair their equipment and infrastructure, the utilities cannot turn power back on to a building until it has been certified as safe to do so by a licensed electrician.

Bloomberg said he estimated there were about 20,000 homes throughout the city in need of such work, and the Rapid Repairs program would concentrate the efforts of qualified contractors in particular neighborhoods.

Homeowners can either visit their local restoration center, visit nyc.gov or call 311 to first schedule a free consultation to assess necessary repairs, Bloomberg said.

The centers can also help homeowners get a Federal Emergency Management Agency number so they can apply for federal reimbursement for any repairs they choose to make.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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