North Carolina Recovery Integration Team tackles complicated recovery projects

N.C. Recovery Intergration Team
Monday, February 17, 2020 - 9:45am

North Carolina is in the midst of the largest hurricane recovery in the state’s history: In the past four years, North Carolina has received federal disaster declarations for four hurricanes covering 77 of the state’s 100 counties.

This presents some challenges for the local governments that are on the road to recovery and striving to build resiliency.  The N.C. Recovery Integration Team (NCRIT), a cross-functional team from the N.C. Division of Emergency Management (NCEM) and its sister agency the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR), is standing up to face these challenges.  The team consists of specialists in public assistance, hazard mitigation, infrastructure and contracting, along with attorneys, and has been developed to help solve some of the more complicated and vexing recovery projects and issues.

NCRIT will work with local governments on complex infrastructure projects, maximizing expertise and funding from across different federal and state recovery programs. It will also  analyze any legal and eligibility issues to find solutions to help communities recover quickly and in a resilient manner.

Projects can range from road and bridge improvements, to public utility and recreational projects, rehabilitating or rebuilding public buildings and other facilities, to give infrastructure projects a better chance of surviving the next disaster and can provide better service to the community.

“These partners already work closely together to leverage the benefits of their different disaster recovery programs,” said Todd Wright, NCEM Assistant Director and Recovery Chief. “This team will help communities to better assess their specific needs and provide the best options effectively for meeting those needs.”

NCRIT will also assist applicants in navigating the FEMA and HUD review processes for environmental and historic preservation, insurance and mitigation projects. In addition, the team will also help applicants with FEMA public assistance appeals and process deadlines.

In addition to its work with federal partners, the team will coordinate with other state agencies that administer disaster recovery programs and provide resources that aid disaster-impacted communities, such as the N.C. Office State Budget and Management (OSBM). To help address remaining unmet needs, they will identify additional funding sources such as federal grants and funding opportunities through nonprofit organizations such as the Golden LEAF Foundation and others.

The team is also developing training for local governments and applicants on available programs. This effort will include updating the state public assistance field guide outlining recovery programs, eligibility requirements and step-by-step guidance of the recovery process.

Brian R. Haines