NC Recovery Series: STEP Program Helps Fair Bluff Homeowner Recover

Monday, February 18, 2019 - 1:30pm

FAIR BLUFF - For more than 50 years, Iniz Bullock has lived in the Fair Bluff home handed down to her by her mother.  The home sits just two blocks from Main Street and the Lumber River and it remained dry for most of her life, until it was flooded twice - by Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and again by Hurricane Florence in 2018.

When Hurricane Matthew struck, Bullock’s floors, walls, clothes and furniture were ruined and filled with mold. “There was so much water in the house it looked like a house on a river,” she said.  After the storm her home was gutted from top to bottom and repaired.  

When Hurricane Florence hit, twelve inches of water rose inside the home, covering the electrical outlets on the walls. Bullock was again displaced and stayed with a nearby family member.  This time she is starting repairs to her home by participating in the STEP program.

Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) provides rapid, partial repairs, to make homes safe, clean, and secure, so families can return to their homes. This is the first time STEP has been used in North Carolina.

North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM) is one of the voluntary groups participating in STEP.  Baptist work crews have already started or completed dozens of STEP repairs including Bullock’s home.  The repairs included new dry wall, a hot water heater, a kitchen sink and flooring. Bullock’s floors were installed by a group of college students volunteering under NCBM.  An army of general contractors are also repairing homes in the STEP program.   More than 4,200 homes are scheduled to be repaired before the program’s end in early April. 

“It’s such a blessing to have people to help,” she said. “The work crews with the Baptists on Mission always call and check on me to see how I’m doing”.

STEP is available to eligible homeowners in: Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties. Homeowners were selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on data gathered from survivors who registered with FEMA. 


Hurricane Florence left a path of destruction and flooding through the state in September 2018. Since then, North Carolinians, with the help of federal and state resources, as well as nonprofit groups, have worked to rebuild hard hit areas. These stories showcase their recovery journeys as North Carolinians move forward rebuilding with strength and resilience.

Lossie McLean