From the Mayor’s Office

Published on Tuesday, November 13th – 2012  –  1:00 p.m.

Here’s the latest update from the Mayor’s Office, via Andrew Olsen, Brooklyn Director of the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit.

We’ve pared down the full report a bit, eliminating some of the sections that have remained unchanged for the past several days.

Yesterday Mayor Bloomberg joined Council Speaker Quinn and Comptroller Liu at P.S. 207 in Howard Beach to announce a $500 million emergency plan to make critical repairs to public schools and public hospitals damaged by Hurricane Sandy. These school buildings and public hospitals are resources that hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers rely on every day, and we are not waiting to begin the work of repairing and re-opening them.

Over the past weekend thousands of volunteers were out on the streets helping their fellow New Yorkers. Today the Rockaway Ferry service launched, providing an important transportation link for the residents of those neighborhoods. The Mayor also announced that the City will waive all application and permit fees for work done on buildings with damage from the storm.

$500 Million for Major Repair Work

  • The plan includes an appropriation of $200 million for the Department of Education and $300 million for the New York City Health and Hospital Corporation to repair extensive damage to school and hospital buildings.
    • As of Monday, 37 schools in 23 buildings will remain closed due to structural damage and more buildings are in need of ongoing repairs.
    • Bellevue Hospital Center, Coney Island Hospital and the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility on Roosevelt Island also sustained extensive damage.
  • The repair needs include structural restorations, new boilers, new electrical systems, roofs repairs, flood remediation and more.
  • The City Council is expected to vote on the appropriation plan at Tuesday’s Council hearing and, if passed, the funding will be an addition to capital funds in the current year (Fiscal Year 2013) Capital Commitment Plan.
  • The spending plan announced today and emergency spending to date represent only a portion of the spending that will be required and additional appropriations will be made this year as necessary.

$134 Million in Emergency Services Spending to Date:

  • The Mayor and Comptroller Liu have already authorized $134 million in spending following Hurricane Sandy to provide emergency services and recovery and relief programs. Those expenses include:
    • $20 million for the Department of Transportation to repair the Battery Park Overpass
    • $1.7 million for the Department of Transportation to repair the Whitehall and St. George ferry terminals
    • $12 million for the Department of Sanitation Office of Emergency Management to remove debris
    • $2.5 million to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services and Human Resources Administration for food and water distribution.
    • $2 million to the Department of Citywide Administrative Services for the delivery of maintenance, repair and operations supplies for response operations
    • $5 million for electrical, plumbing, and water line inspections for homes in Staten Island and Queens
    • $1.1 million to the Office of Emergency Management for additional ambulances
  • The City’s overtime costs for the response to Hurricane Sandy will be in addition to these amounts already authorized.

Sunday Work Total:

  • On Sunday alone, 20,000 City workers and City-funded contractors were at work to continue Hurricane Sandy relief operations, including debris removal, storm clean-up and facility rehabilitation.

NYC Rapid Repairs:

  • This new and unprecedented program will send teams of contractors and City inspectors into neighborhoods impacted by Hurricane Sandy and quickly and efficiently make necessary repairs to damaged homes.
  • We are bringing in contractors who will be given responsibility for specific geographic areas hard hit by Sandy.
  • These contractors will be responsible for repairing the homes of anyone who wants to take part in NYC Rapid Repairs.
  • Under the typical FEMA process, it is up to the homeowner to arrange for repair work and carry it out, but this new system will make repairs happen more quickly and efficiently.
  • Beginning Tuesday 11/13, homeowners will be able sign up for NYC Rapid Repairs by going to NYC.gov, 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.
  • The NYC Rapid Repairs teams will work closely with City agencies, including the Department of Buildings and Department of Housing Preservation and Development, to make sure that any necessary inspections and certifications are done as quickly as possible.
  • If they so choose, homeowners still have the option of having repairs made through their insurance company or with a standard reimbursement from FEMA. If they choose NYC Rapid Repairs, we will handle getting the contractors in and getting the work done.
  • Homes eligible for NYC Rapid Repairs will be those who have received a green placard from the Department of Buildings, indicating that the home is structurally sound.

Information for Homeowners Restoring their Power and Making Repairs:

Rockaway Ferry:

  • Ferry service between the Rockaways and Manhattan began today.
  • Ferries depart from Beach 108th Street and Beach Channel Drive, where the Economic Development Corporation has installed a temporary landing, and stop at Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan with free transfers between Pier 11 and East 34th Street in Midtown.
  • The service starts at 5:45 AM in the Rockaways with ferries departing for Manhattan regularly until 9:20 AM, with regular service resuming during the evening rush. Each trip should take about 40-45 minutes.
  • The one-way fare is $2.
  • Further details and schedules can be found here: http://www.nycedc.com/blog-entry/new-rockaway-ferry-service

Odd-Even Gasoline Purchasing System:

  • Mayor Bloomberg has established an odd-even license plate system for gasoline purchases to reduce wait times and lines at gas stations. The temporary system will remain in effect until further notice and will operate as follows:
    • Vehicles with license plates ending in an even number or the number “0” purchase fuel on even numbered days.
    • Vehicles with license plates ending in an odd number purchase fuel on odd numbered days.
    • Vehicles with licenses plates ending in letters will be deemed as odd numbered plates and can make purchases on odd numbered days.
    • Commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles, buses and paratransit vehicles, Medical Doctor (MD) plates and vehicles licensed by the Taxi and limousine Commission are exempt.
  • The use of legal walk-up fuel containers by individuals is not affected by the executive order.
  • As they have been since the storm, NYPD officers will be deployed to maintain order at stations.

FEMA Workshops for Non-Profits:

  • Many of our city’s non-profit institutions were impacted by the storm.
  • FEMA provides public assistance to these institutions.
  • The first step in this process is for these organizations to attend an applicant briefing held by FEMA.
  • Details on upcoming briefings can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/workshop-non-profit.html

Power Washing:

  • Teams including FDNY, Department of Environmental Protection and other City agency workers are power-washing streets in areas that experienced flooding and accumulated sand and other debris from the storm.
  • Today the teams operated in the zone between Beach Channel Drive south to Rockaway Freeway and east to west from Beach 73rd Street to Beach 94th Street.

Day of Service:

  • On Saturday, Mayor Bloomberg kicked off a day of service to assist New Yorkers and clean-up areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
  • 1,000 volunteers participated in the latest of several City-organized service days.
  • These volunteers worked at 19 different sites in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island
  • Service work included hot food preparation and service; distribution of non-perishable food, water and other supplies; boardwalk and parks clean-up; and games and activities for children.
  • An additional 1,825 volunteers assisted in City parks cleanup at 16 different sites over the weekend.
  • To date volunteers have canvassed more than 18,400 apartments and reached more than 19,700 people in NYCHA properties, rental buildings and single-family homes to check on them and provide food and supplies.
  • Anyone interested in volunteering should visit NYC Service at: nyc.gov/service

Door to Door Medical Care in Brooklyn and Queens:

  • Medical teams have been deployed to high rise residential buildings in Coney Island and Far Rockawayto:
    • Make sure the medical needs of residents are being attended to
    • Conduct a medical assessment to ensure that residents are safe
    • Connect residents with prescription medications.
  • The teams assess the wellbeing of residents who have not been able to leave their apartments and who may have been without water, electricity and heat.
    • If the paramedic determines that a resident has immediate acute medical needs, the resident will be taken to a field clinic or a hospital for additional care.
  • These teams are dispatched in ambulances and consist of a paramedic, Health Department staff, and a member of the National Guard.
  • The New York City Health Department is coordinating the effort with the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Guard.
  • This outreach will run from 8am to 8pm each day.
  • The City is requesting that building management and landlords in Far Rockaway and Coney Island make their sites available from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm so that the teams can access residents in the buildings.
    • If the building management cannot have someone at the building at these times, they are asked to please call the Health Department at 917-231-6066 or email highrisebuilding@health.nyc.gov to provide a contact name and number so they can be called to let the team into the building.

Temporary Guidelines to Speed Heating Oil Deliveries and Boiler Repairs:

  • As a result of Hurricane Sandy, sufficient quantities of the low heating sulfur oil required by New York City law have been harder to obtain and distribute.
  • To ensure that New Yorkers have access to heating fuel, the City has temporarily suspended the sulfur limits, which will allow the use of oils with higher sulfur content through December 7th.
  • The City also has streamlined emergency work permits for boiler repairs and replacements to reduce the application timeline by as much as two weeks.

Parks, Beaches, and Playgrounds:

  • We have reopened most parks and playgrounds.
  • All beaches, which have experienced a great deal of erosion over the two recent storms, remain closed.
  • Details on park closures can be found at: nyc.gov/parks

24-Hour Debris Cleanup:

  • The Department of Sanitation is deploying teams around the clock to clear debris from the storm, with teams running 12-hour shifts since the storm ended.
  • To date they have removed nearly 239,000 tons of debris.
  • The Department of Sanitation has committed 802 pieces of equipment to debris removal.
  • We have reduced garbage collection in areas largely unaffected by the storm to allow us to move even more resources to neighborhoods that most need it.
  • Curbside recycling pickup has resumed.

Trees and Debris:

  • 26,011 tree service requests have been made (alerting us of downed trees or branches).
  • Of these requests, 15,432 were for downed trees.
  • The City has addressed 10,645 of these emergency tree conditions and crews continue to work around the clock to address conditions.

Food, Water & Blanket Distribution Sites:

Power:

  • As of this afternoon there were 17,441 Con Ed and 29,387 LIPA customers without power.
  • With many of these customers, the hurdles to restoring power are with the buildings, rather than the utility. Even when the power is restored to these areas, there is work to be done in these buildings before the lights can be turned on.
  • All Con Ed steam accounts that take can take power have been restored. 49 steam accounts cannot be restored due to damage to the buildings.

NYCHA:

  • Power: 402 buildings people lost power because of the storm; the City has restored power to 390 of those buildings.
  • Heat/Hot Water: 386 NYCHA buildings lost heat and hot water because of the storm; the City has restored heat and hot water to 290 of those buildings.
  • NYCHA has deployed over 160 janitorial crews (60 from NYCHA and 100 from third party vendors) to remove garbage and clean stairwells and hallways in buildings impacted by the storm. This will continue until the agency’s caretaker crews are able to manage the buildings as before Sandy.
  • NYCHA has set up warming centers in Red Hook and additional warming centers are being established.
  • Staff and volunteers have been providing blankets to residents who have not had heat or hot water restored
  • The Board of the New York City Housing Authority has announced that NYCHA will begin instituting rent adjustments to residents in developments severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy. These rent abatement measures mean that for any days of the month in which residents were without essential services (electric, elevators, heat or water) as a result of Hurricane Sandy storm damage, they will be issued a rent credit.
  • Rent credits will be included in the January 2013 rent bill. NYCHA asks that residents continue to pay their normal rents until the credits are reflected on their rent bill. NYCHA residents will receive additional information in their December rent bill.

Roadways:

  • Alternate side parking will be suspended tomorrow, Tuesday the 13th.
  • The Holland Tunnel is open to all traffic.
  • The Queens-Midtown Tunnel is open.
  • The Hugh Carey Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is open to buses.
  • Tolls on the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Bridge and the Cross Bay Bridge are suspended.
  • Meters are in effect.

Mass Transit:

  • Subways, railroads, and buses are operating on a modified basis.
    • All details on MTA service status can be found at: mta.info
  • Staten Island Ferry service is running on its regular schedule.
  • The East River Ferry is running.
  • Rockaway Ferry information can be found here: http://www.nycedc.com/blog-entry/new-rockaway-ferry-service
  • PATH service has begun limited service.
  • NJ Transit services have been restored on a modified basis. Details are here: njtransit.com.

Schools:

  • All City schools are open to students.
    • Those students and staff who have been reassigned from buildings that sustained structural damage have gone to other school sites.
  • The Department of Education has coordinated transportation options for families with children who have been reassigned to other school sites:
    • Full reimbursement for any family of a K-8 student at a relocated school taking MTA/cab service to and from school.
    • 55 cents per mile reimbursement for any family of a student at a relocated school who uses their own vehicles.
    • Free MetroCards will be distributed to all high school students at relocated schools who do not already have one.
  • We are working hard to re-open as many schools that are currently closed as possible. However some schools will remain closed for some time. Parents of students in those affected schools should watch for communication from their schools or:
    • Visit nyc.gov/schools
    • Call 311
    • Text the words “nyc schools” or “escuela” to 877-877

Building Inspections:

  • Buildings will be tagged with one of three color placards to indicate their safety:
    • Green: the building is structurally safe
    • Red: the building is not safe and may not be entered
    • Yellow: it can be occupied conditionally (i.e. one floor may be safe while another is not.) These conditions would be explained on the placard.
  • Building owners can also self-certify with the Department of Buildings.
  • Where flooding has done damage to electrical wiring and gear repairs must be made before the building can be repowered.

Air BNB Temporary Housing:

  • Air BNB, an on-line service that connects people seeking temporary housing with those who have unused space, has launched a new platform to link New Yorkers displaced by Hurricane Sandy to New Yorkers who want to offer places to stay.
  • Air BNB is providing the service at no fee, and information is available at: airbnb.com/sandy.

Staying Warm in the Cold Weather:

  • Anyone who needs heat should find shelter, whether at one of our city facilities or with a friend or relative.
  • We now have opened over 200 warming centers across the city: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/warming_ctr.html
  • Our volunteers have been going door-to-door in affected areas urging those still without power to find a warm place to stay.
  • Our shelters are also open for those who are seeking warmth. The list of shelters is here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hurricane_shelters.html
  • Those who are using generators in their homes to run their heat should be very careful to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Tips for smart generator use are below.

Volunteering, Donating, and Giving Blood:

  • Workers from the City Departments of Sanitation, Parks, and Transportation, NYC Service volunteers, and the US Marines are also partnering with the Salvation Army to collect the large amount of used clothing that’s been left outdoors as donations in various parts of the city. They’re also distributing cleaning supplies.
  • All clothes collected will go to Salvation Army locations in our hardest-hit areas.
    • If you would like to donate clothing: Please do not leave these items outside. Instead, deliver them to Salvation Army centers; they’ll make sure your donations get where they’re needed.
  • You can also donate them to New York Cares, Goodwill, the New York Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, or Catholic Charities. If you’d like to make a donation of food, you can do so with City Harvest and Food Bank for New York City.
  • Cash donations to support recovery efforts can be made through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. Learn more here: nyc.gov/fund
    • Generally, cash donations are preferable to in-kind donations because the logistics of collecting and distributing those supplies are complex.
    • The Mayor’s Fund has already received over $32 million in donations from over 10,000 people.
  • Those who want to volunteer can visit NYC Service at: nyc.gov/service
  • Giving blood is incredibly helpful right now. For more information visit: nybloodcenter.org

Support to Businesses:

  • The City’s Department of Small Business Services and Economic Development Corporation have put together a package of support for NYC businesses impacted by the storm.
  • Emergency low-interest loans of up to $25,000 for businesses that have been interrupted and suffered damage as a result of the storm. Applications are available at any of the City’s NYC Business Solutions Centers, by calling 311 and asking for “NYC Business Emergency Loan,” or by visiting: on.nyc.gov/contactnycbiz.
  • For businesses facing significant rebuilding costs, the City will provide sales tax exemptions of up to $100,000 on purchases of materials, equipment and related services needed to rebuild. Learn more here:nycedc.com/backtobusiness
  • For displaced businesses, the City has identified more than 170,000 square feet that will be made available free of charge, including 40,000 square feet of City space at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, and more than 125,000 square feet of space that private landlords have made available, across the five boroughs. A full listing of commercial spaces and other resources is available at: nycedc.com/donations.
  • Information on disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration is available at any of the City’s NYC Business Solutions Centers, by calling 800-659-2955, or by visiting sba.gov/disaster.
  • Alliance for Coney Island — a nonprofit organization formed, with the help of the City, to continue the transformation of Coney Island into a year-round, world-class recreational oceanfront destination — launchedConeyRecovers.org, a multipronged relief and recovery effort to help Coney Island residents and businesses dealing with the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Alliance is comprised of all major Coney businesses, and the City has provided them with $630,000 in funding originally allocated to the Coney Island Development Corporation which will wind down operations.

Federal Disaster Assistance:

  • Anyone affected by Sandy – homeowners, renters, and businesses – can apply for federal disaster assistance.
  • They can register at DisasterAssistance.gov, by calling the Federal Emergency Management agency at 1-800-621-3362, or visiting one of our Disaster Assistance Centers.

Disaster Assistance Centers:

  • These centers provide information about applying for emergency social and economic benefits.
  • The list of sites and hours of operation can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/dasc.html
  • These facilities are operated by the City’s Human Resources Administration in cooperation with FEMA.

Mobile Medical Vans:

  • Mobile medical vans staffed with primary care providers are providing medical care and distributing commonly prescribed drugs at several locations in the Rockaways, Staten Island, and Coney Island.
  • There is a particular need for pharmaceuticals in the Rockaways because of a limited number of pharmacies still open and able to fulfill prescriptions.
  • Volunteers working through the City’s volunteer operation, NYC Service, have been knocking on doors to check on and address the medical needs of those who remain in their homes, often without heat and power.
  • The New York City Human Resources Administration, along with FEMA Search and Rescue, have targeted our most high risk households and will continue this effort until power is restored.
  • The list of sites can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/medical_vans.html.

Evacucation Shelters:

  • The number of shelters has been consolidated to 8.
  • As of this afternoon there were 1,860 evacuees in these facilities.
  • Our shelter system will remain open until evacuees can return to their homes or find short-term housing.
  • A full list of shelters can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/html/2012/hurricane_shelters.html

Reporting and Handling Conditions:

  • 911 should only be used in case of emergencies.
  • To report other conditions such as fallen trees and sewer backups, please use 311 Online, text 311 at 311-692, or call 311.
    • Fallen trees are incredibly dangerous. Anyone who sees one should report it immediately. No one should try to cut down or move damaged trees themselves.
  • Power outages and live wires should be directly reported to Con Ed (1-800-75-CON-ED) or LIPA (1-800-490-0075).
    • Live wires are also extremely dangerous. No one should touch them or be near them.

Staying Informed

Thank you for all of your efforts, and we will continue to keep you informed.

Ryan Whalen

Chief of Staff to Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson

Publishe on Tuesday November 13th 2012

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