NC Recovery Series: STEP Program Helps Duplin County Homeowner Recover

flooded home
Monday, March 25, 2019 - 9:43am

When Hurricane Florence made its landfall in North Carolina, thousands of businesses and homes were damaged or destroyed. 

Joseph Brown’s home in Chinquapin was flooded with five feet of water from the nearby Northeast Cape Fear River, which lies only a half-mile away. Flooding in the area was extensive, stretching 11 miles along the river from Chinquapin to the nearby town of Wallace.

Brown and his wife had been in their home less than a year when Hurricane Florence hit, and they evacuated to Georgia to stay with relatives. When they returned home, they found their home flooded with no power and a growing mold problem.

Volunteers from North Carolina Baptists on Mission, including college students from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania, have been working on Brown’s home. NCBM have mucked out the house, removing the waterlogged wallboard, insulation, flooring, furniture and clothing. Unfortunately, Brown also lost a vehicle in the flood. The Browns are currently living in a travel trailer provided by FEMA while the Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program makes partial repairs to get them back into their home. STEP uses contractors and voluntary disaster relief organizations for emergency repairs to homes to make them safe, sanitary and functional, so families can return home quickly.

“I am very appreciative of everything that’s been done to help,” he said. When asked if he had any advice about hurricane preparations for others, Brown said, “Don’t take it lightly when given warnings, get flood insurance, and try to avoid a flood prone area when purchasing property.”

More than 1,600 homes have been completed and over 3,200  homes are underway through the STEP program. More than 4,200 homeowners are registered for the program. Thirteen general contractors and voluntary relief groups like Baptists on Mission and United Methodist Disaster Relief are working to complete repairs to those homes by early April. 

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