- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City officials say a Superstorm Sandy home-repair effort that was criticized for a sluggish start has now begun work on 535 homes, surpassing a goal set to show a turnaround.

Mayor Bill de Blasio gave an update Tuesday on the effort, called Build It Back. In April, he said the city aimed to start 500 repair projects and send 500 reimbursement checks by Labor Day. Officials say 543 checks totaling over $9 million have been dispatched to homeowners who did repairs on their own.

Build It Back was created in June 2013, following a more basic repair program. When de Blasio took office Jan. 1, no households even had complete plans for Build It Back work.

An estimated 15,000 to 20,000 homes are eligible for fixing or reimbursements.

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