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City Outreach Efforts Abound This Thanksgiving

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With so many New Yorkers still struggling to recover from Sandy, the city and other volunteer groups are trying to give them something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office said more than 26,000 Thanksgiving meals were expected to be handed out Thursday.

Residents lined up early at MCU Park in Coney Island -- one of 30 sites where residents picked up free turkey dinners.

With many of the supermarkets in the area closed residents say the distribution centers have been a big help.

"Now when the hurricane happened, now we have help. There's people here that don't even know anybody and they're coming to help like the Red Cross. I'm just thankful that even though we didn't have electricity people still came at got food for us," said one Coney Island resident.

In some locations, residents could also catch a bus to local restaurants offering free sit-down meals.

For information on where to go for a Thanksgiving meal, visit nyc.gov.

Meanwhile, residents in Far Rockaway who have dealt with a lot after Hurricane Sandy did not have to worry about Thanksgiving dinner.

They enjoyed hot meals cooked by volunteers with the Bowery Mission and Queens Pastors Network.

They also helped distribute supplies and warm clothes.

Those who came out to help say it has been a meaningful experience.

"We've seen many pastors here have called us said they're suffering down here, there's not a lot supplies, and there's no chance that they're going to have a dinner like we do in our homes, so we wanted to bring that to them," said Brian Johansson of the Bowery Mission.

"I feel that I need to be here, we all need to be here, we need to help one another and we need to come together as a community to help one another," said Marlo Hirschfield, a volunteer.

The Bowery Mission says it will still need plenty of help during the holidays.

To find out how you can get involved, visit bowery.org.


Recovery And Relief

Public Housing

Many people displaced by Sandy have been receiving temporary shelter, but they will soon have to find somewhere else to stay.

With the city's shelters now closed, FEMA has been paying for temporary hotel rooms for New Yorkers with nowhere else to go.

But the agency is only covering costs until December 1.

On Wednesday, Mayor Bloomberg acknowledged the struggle of those still looking for housing but said the situation isn't as dire as it seems.

He estimates only a few thousand residents will actually need help finding long-term housing.

He said the city's Rapid Repairs program will be able to help most people.

"If you take a look at the number of people staying in hotels, if we can get these buildings back up with heat and electricity than you don't have to find other housing for them," Bloomberg said.

Governor Cuomo has said the housing situation is worse statewide where tens of thousands of homes will have to be rebuilt.

Residents can register for FEMA assistance at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-3362. Phone lines are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

FEMA Disaster Recovery Centers

Bronx:

12th Judicial District, 851 Grand Concourse, Bronx, NY 10451
Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon-Fri

Brooklyn:

IKEA, 1 Beard Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Holy Family R.C. Church, 9719 Flatlands Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11236
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Coffey Park, 85 Richards Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Gerritsen Little League Field, 2671 Gerritsen Avenue, Gerritsen Beach, NY
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Social Security Building, Gravesend, 10 Bouck Court, Brooklyn, NY 11223
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Queens:

Duane Reade (Waldbaums Supermarket parking lot), 115-12 Beach Channel Drive, Far Rockaway, NY 11694
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Community Church of the Nazarene, 1414 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Fort Tilden Park (Building 415), 1-199 Rockaway Point Boulevard, Breezy Point, NY 11697
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

American Legion, 209 Cross Bay Boulevard, Broad Channel, NY 11693
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Storefront, 1001 Beach 20th Street, Far Rockaway, NY 11691
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Staten Island:

Miller Field, 600 New Dorp Lane, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Corner of Father Capodanno Boulevard and Hunter Avenue, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Loretto CYO, 6581 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10309
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Mount Manresa Jesuit House, 239 Fingerboard Road, Staten Island, NY 10305
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Borough Hall, 10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY 10301
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun

Kia in Staten Island, 1976 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10306
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mon-Sun


Meanwhile, the New York City Housing Authority announced Monday evening that heat and hot water has been restored to all public housing buildings affected by Hurricane Sandy, and by Tuesday 98 percent of the agency's damaged elevators were working again.

NYCHA officials warned that some residents could "occasionally experience service disruptions as generators are disconnected" and roughly 24 temporary boilers in affected buildings are being serviced.

Nearly all city public housing residents who have been without electricity since the storm hit are back on the grid.

However, the housing authority also said this is because there is a delay between power restoration and its actual return due to damaged circuits.

Public housing residents who still lack heat and hot water are asked to call the NYCHA Customer Contact Center at 1-718-707-7771.

Transit And Traffic

City transit officials are working to increase methods of transit for areas in the five boroughs that received the most harm from Sandy.

The Department of Transportation is collecting bids for a temporary second Staten Island ferry that is expected to start sailing from Great Kills to Lower Manhattan on Monday.

On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority began running the new H train shuttle to run across the Rockaways. It is the first subway service in that area of Queens since Sandy hit more than three weeks ago.

The city's gas rationing to cars based on odd or even license plate numbers is currently in effect through Friday.

Vehicles with license plates that end in an odd number or vanity plates can only get gas at the pump on odd-numbered days, and vehicles with plates that end in an even number and zero can only get gas on even-numbered days.

Certain vehicles are exempt from the rationing, including vehicles with licenses from the Taxi and Limousine Commission, cars with medical doctor plates, commercial vehicles, emergency vehicles and buses.

To report price gouging at gas stations, call 1-800-771-7755 or go to the state attorney general's website at ag.ny.gov.

The city Departments of Transportation and Sanitation say alternate-side parking are suspended indefinitely in parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

Those areas are:
- Brooklyn Community Board 6 west of and including Hamilton Avenue, which includes the neighborhood of Red Hook.
- Brooklyn Community Board 18, which covers Canarsie, Bergen Beach, Mill Basin, Flatlands, Marine Park, Georgetown and Mill Island.
- Brooklyn Community Board 13, which represents Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Bensonhurst, Gravesend and Sea Gate.
- Brooklyn Community Board 15, which includes Sheepshead Bay, Manhattan Beach and Gerritsen Beach and Homecrest.
- Queens Community Board 14, which covers the Rockaways.

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