‘Rapid Repairs’ for Sandy victims needing heat and hot water

Posted at 11:35 AM, Jan 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-26 11:39:27-05

SEA GATE, Brooklyn (PIX11) — In the small Sandy-devastated neighborhood of Sea Gate, some residents are turning on their heat and hot water for the first time since the storm and it is just in time for the snow.

It is all because of the city’s free program, Rapid Repairs.

“They literally helped us get back on our feet,” said Natasha Reinhard of the crew who just installed a boiler and hot water heater in her home.

Nearly three months after Superstorm Sandy filled their basement with water, the Natasha and Jay Reinhard are finally warm inside their home.

As snow started falling on Sea Gate’s streets, the timing is pretty perfect.

“It couldn’t have been planned any better, this is the coldest I’ve ever seen it and I’m a New Yorker!” exclaimed Reinhard.

The Rapid Repairs program provides heat and hot water to Sandy-damaged homes for free.  More than 2m500 workers have been working day in and day out since the program was created shortly after the storm.

In some cases, where a home’s boiler is badly damaged, the crews have to build a new boiler.  On average, one crew can fix up to a dozen homes a day.  The workers say they’re happy to help because they know their work is meaningful.

Foreman Ken Wright said, “If they [the homeowners] could put their arms around you and hold on to you, they wouldn’t let go.  We’ve got to tell them, listen, you gotta let go, we gotta go to another house.”

Wright says he and his crew will keep going from house to house until the work is done.

“They tell us we have to rotate and give the guys a day off but the guys don’t want to take the days off because they go to these houses and come back and say hey, you can’t take a day off, we gotta get this one done,” said Wright.

“Their devotion and dedication is unparalleled, I’ve never seen anything like it,” agreed Natasha.

While this help saves the Reinhards upwards of $10,000, for this couple, still struggling to rebuild after the storm, the work means much more than money.

“They’ve given us a feeling that we can get up in the morning and face the world,” said Natasha.

The Reinhards are one of more than 13,000 households across the city who have had Rapid Repairs complete work on their damaged home.

The city admits it has around 5,000 more storm victims waiting on the list for help but insist crews are working as quickly as they can to get to those families.

Get more information on Rapid Repairs HERE.