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NYC sets 2016 goal to complete Sandy home rebuilding

A worker stabilizes a pre-cast concrete slab while

A worker stabilizes a pre-cast concrete slab while a co-worker uses a crane to position it on a berm as construction continues on replacement portions of the Rockaway Beach boardwalk Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2015, in New York, before the third anniversary of superstorm Sandy. Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

The city's Build It Back program to restore single-family homes destroyed by superstorm Sandy is on track for completion by the end of 2016, and offers have been made to all 9,300 homeowners who applied for aid, Mayor Bill de Blasio and other officials said Thursday on the third anniversary of the deadly storm.

The program has begun construction on 2,015 sites -- completing 1,217 homes -- and issued reimbursement checks totaling nearly $104 million to the 5,319 families who applied for them, de Blasio said at a news conference in New Dorp Beach, a Staten Island neighborhood that was ravaged by flooding.

Those numbers were at zero in spring 2014, when the administration overhauled Build It Back and quadrupled the design and construction capacity.

Setting a 2016 deadline for finishing the work adds urgency to the mission, de Blasio said.

"There are some things government did well. There are some things government did not do well," he said of the response to the 2012 storm. "We learned with each passing month how to do things better and how to make people whole."

Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said the event was "not a victory lap," but rather a reaffirmation of commitment to the recovery effort.

De Blasio agreed. "We will not be satisfied until everyone who was dislocated is back in their home," he said. "And we have a mission ahead . . . to create resiliency in this city."

To rebuild the remaining homes and stay on schedule, more contractors are needed and more families must agree to relocate until their home is done, de Blasio said. He added, "It's going to take every bureaucracy getting out of the way."


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