April 16, 2018
NC on Track to Start Sending
Housing Recovery Funds to Hurricane
Matthew Survivors Next Month
Carolina is on track to send the first homeowner reimbursement checks
to Hurricane Matthew survivors beginning next month, state emergency
management officials said today. Emergency Management officials will
brief legislators this afternoon on program spending and other updates
related to Hurricane Matthew recovery.
The funds are part of the ReBuild NC program, made possible by North
Carolina’s allocation of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster
Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds from the US Department of Housing and Urban
“We’re continuing to push to get assistance to the families, businesses
and communities working to recover while making sure taxpayer dollars
are being used effectively,” said Mike Sprayberry, state emergency
management director. “North Carolina is currently on target to begin
sending the first homeowner reimbursement checks in May, and we’re glad
to learn just this week that HUD has awarded North Carolina more of
Funds are available to help qualified low- and moderate-income families
and individuals with Hurricane Matthew housing recovery. North Carolina
partnered with local communities to open application centers where
Matthew survivors can apply for these funds starting last November.
Hurricane Matthew Housing Application Centers are currently open in
Cumberland, Edgecombe, Robeson and Wayne counties, the four communities
hit hardest by the storm. Applicants in any of the 22 counties
designated for CBDG-DR funding can call 2-1-1 to schedule an
appointment at one of the centers to begin the application process.
Applications for the funds go through a detailed process requiring
multiple checks for eligibility, duplication of benefit, environmental
reviews, and more. Staff are working with applicants to ensure
applications are completed quickly.
In addition to the original approximately $237 million in CDBG-DR funds
designated for North Carolina, an additional $168 million in CDBG-DR
funds was announced earlier this week and will come to North Carolina
following the next federal register.
Historically, North Carolina’s CBDG-DR program was handled by the NC
Department of Commerce. In December 2016, state legislators
designated NC Emergency Management to manage the program and recent
cuts to Commerce eliminated the section that previously did this type
of work, requiring NCEM to build the program from the ground up.
CDBG-DR funding is just one part of the work underway to help North
Carolina rebuild from Hurricane Matthew, state emergency management
officials point out.
“Our goal is rebuilding stronger and better so North Carolina will be
more resilient in the face of future disasters,” Sprayberry said.
“We’re working with federal, state and local leaders to cut through red
tape and get help to those who need it most.”
FEMA Administrator Brock Long will meet with Sprayberry and others
Tuesday morning to announce and implement the nation’s first FEMA
Integration Team designed to enhance the efficiency of program
Among the other efforts already happening to help families, businesses and communities recover from the storm:
1. Helping families, businesses and communities recover. More than $550
million in FEMA funding already has been provided to North Carolina so
far, including nearly $100 million to approximately 26,000 families in
need and $250 million to public infrastructure repair projects. More
than 2,600 SBA home and business loans have been approved for a total
of over $100 million. Already, funding has been obligated for 95
percent of all the anticipated public assistance projects identified by
local governments (including things like debris removal, emergency
protective measures, and repairs to community facilities).
2. Assisting families as they rebuild. As of this morning, 37
families remained in FEMA mobile home units as they work to repair
their homes, down from peak of 161. State officials expect most of the
families will be in their permanent homes by the end of April, but
about a dozen families will likely need additional help. Reasons for
home repair delays vary widely from a shortage of volunteer labor, to
homeowners who miscalculated timeframes to complete repairs, to
families who underestimated repair costs and are now seeking volunteers
to help to complete the work.
3. Developing Affordable Housing. NCEM is working with local
communities and counties, along with the NC Community Development
Initiative and the NC Development Finance Initiative, to increase
affordable housing in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew. One of
the toughest challenges to recovering from Hurricane Matthew has been
the lack of affordable housing stock in many eastern North Carolina
communities—a problem that existed long before the storm struck and
that smart rebuilding efforts can help solve for the future.
4. Helping communities become more resilient to better weather future
disasters. North Carolina is one of just 12 FEMA enhanced mitigation
states in the country, a designation given to states with an
outstanding system in place to handle mitigation projects that can
reduce losses in future disasters. Following Hurricane Matthew, this
enhanced mitigation plan allowed North Carolina to receive an
additional $25 million in Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funding to
help an additional 200 at-risk homes through buyouts, elevations, and
Through North Carolina’s leadership and enhanced mitigation status, we
saved 6-8 months in the typical HMGP process following a major
disaster. We have already sent addresses for available funding to FEMA
for approval, and expect the funds to be released soon.
NCEM continues working with the particularly hard-hit communities of
Lumberton, Fair Bluff, Windsor, Seven Springs, Princeville &
Kinston to improve their ability to withstand and recover from future
disasters. That work includes land suitability analyses, and for some
communities, flood retrofit studies and detailed recovery plans.
To better understand and prepare for river flooding, state emergency
management, transportation, and environment officials are working with
NCSU, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and local governments to conduct
flood mitigation studies of the Neuse, Tar, Lumber and Cashie river
basins. Information from the studies will tell us more about the
sources and severity of flooding, inform plans and strategies for
surrounding communities heavily impacted by floods, and help the Corps
and other federal partners to implement basin-specific mitigation
measures to minimize future impacts. Study results are expected later