NC Recovery Series: STEP Program Concludes After Helping Thousands of Hurricane Florence Survivors

house with plywood stacked on front porch
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 - 7:38am

Hurricane Florence made its landfall in North Carolina more than eight months ago. The historic storm left many homeowners’ devastated and hopeless. At the beginning of 2019, North Carolina implemented the NC Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (NC STEP) program.  The storm’s destruction left thousands without power and damaged homes, and STEP provided a means to help homeowners’ return to their houses more quickly. 

The NC STEP program was created with the goal to provide partial repairs at no cost to the homeowner, so Hurricane Florence survivors could live in their homes while longer-term repairs continued. The program ensured that homes would be made safe, livable and operational for the homeowner. The STEP program was eligible for homes with approximately $17,000 of damage or less from Hurricane Florence. 

The STEP program was made available to eligible homeowners in Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties. Eligible homeowners were selected by FEMA based on data gathered from storm survivors.  

More than 15,784 North Carolina Florence survivors were contacted by telephone, text message or a postcard. They were encouraged to apply to participate in the STEP program by the original deadline of January 17, 2019. The deadline was extended numerous times and ended with a final deadline of February 10, 2019.  

With the help of several contractors, and volunteer organizations such as the North Carolina Baptists on Mission (NCBM), and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the two-part STEP program concluded on May 15, 2019 with over 2,300 homes repaired. 

One Hurricane Florence survivor who participated in the program was Carrie Collins, from Hubert, North Carolina. “I’ve always lived here and I’ve always lived through hurricanes,” Collins stated in the video featured above as she shared her experience with the NC STEP program. “The previous hurricanes came and went, but this one came and it stayed,” she continued to say. 

Watch Ms. Collins story here and visit and for more stories and recovery updates.  

See Susan Johnson and Delane Gearhart's stories on how NC STEP helped them to recover from Hurricane Florence.

Tierra Bethel