Governor Cooper Surveys Matthew Recovery Efforts in Robeson and Columbus Counties

Construction worker fixing window
Tuesday, August 14, 2018 - 5:02pm

During a visit to Robeson and Columbus counties on Monday, Aug. 13, Gov. Roy Cooper and state emergency management officials saw first-hand the work being done to rebuild areas severely impacted by Hurricane Matthew. He stopped to visit with homeowners, see work on new affordable housing, and tour the new Fair Bluff Fire & Rescue building under construction.

Governor Cooper spoke with residents, local officials and firefighters about what is being done to help North Carolinians recover from Hurricane Matthew. In addition to the millions of dollars spent on storm responses, more than $743 million in federal or state funds has been spent to help families, small businesses and communities recover. An additional $624 million has also been allocated for additional projects. 

Lumberton homeowner Benjamin Phillips was excited to show the governor around his home currently under repair using Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds. Phillips’ home is the first one of many to be repaired using CDBG-DR funds. Gov. Cooper also visited the home of Brenda Jacobs, whose home was damaged in Matthew and repaired by the Lumbee Tribe and NC Housing Finance Agency using state funds. The NC Housing Trust Fund was awarded $20 million to repair storm damage to more than 450 single-family homes statewide. 

The Governor also visited the Griffin Park Apartments, affordable housing being developed in Lumberton by the North Carolina Community Development Initiative. In 2017, this initiative was awarded more than $3 million from NC Emergency Management to help communities  hit badly by the hurricane. 

In Columbus County, Gov. Cooper stopped to see construction of the new Fair Bluff Fire & Rescue building. The fire department’s old station was destroyed by Hurricane Matthew’s floodwaters in October 2016. Construction of the new $1.4 million fire and rescue station is funded by a combination of FEMA Public Assistance, state funds granted through the Golden Leaf Foundation, and insurance payments. The fire department is operating temporarily out of the old National Guard Armory in Fair Bluff but hopes to move into its new station by Christmas, in time for the department’s 75th anniversary. 

Gov Cooper also visited one of the seven ReBuild NC application centers where homeowners can apply for help, the Fair Bluff Application Center located in Fair Bluff’s Baptist Church.  Employees at these centers are there to help hurricane survivors through the relief application process.

“I encourage everyone still in need of recovery help to call NC 2-1-1 today or come into an application center,” Governor Cooper said. “Even if you already paid for storm repairs out of your own pocket, you may be able to get money back.” 

For additional information on Hurricane Matthew housing recovery and the application process, visit:


Note: The original blog was edited to include additional information. 

Allie Harris-Beeks