Today’s news:

City’s Sandy repair program in Queens nearing completion

TimesLedger Newspapers

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Friday that Rapid Repairs is wrapping up work to restore city homes damaged during Hurricane Sandy, with 20,000 residences having received free emergency repairs to their heating, electrical or hot water systems and 54,000 people able to return home.

“That is a remarkable achievement, one we expect will become a textbook case of innovation and resource for an effective response to an unprecedented natural disaster,” Bloomberg said of the first-of-its-kind program at a news conference in the Broad Channel American Legion, at 209 Cross Bay Blvd.

Rapid Repairs deploys contractors and skilled construction workers to make temporary, essential fixes to residences so that people can live in their homes as they work on more permanent repairs.

More than 99 percent of all homes that signed up for the program have had work completed.

Bloomberg said the city also released an action plan Friday to spend $1.77 billion in federal aid to help residents and businesses recover. The plan, which can be found online at www.nyc.gov, will be open to public comments until April 4, after which it will be submitted to the federal government for approval.

In addition, Bloomberg said $10 million in private donations from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York will go to assist in minor, non-structural repairs to one- and two-family homes.

Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at kfrantz@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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