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21 More Homeowners to Get Housing Help to Recover from Matthew State Awards Mitigation Grants to Get Matthew Survivors Into More Resilient Homes

Elevated home

Raleigh - NC Emergency Management today notified local officials in the city of Tarboro and in Halifax and Robeson counties that they will soon receive $2.6 million in federal and state funds to acquire or elevate 21 homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew. 

“We know people are eagerly awaiting this funding so they can rebuild their homes and lives,” said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “We expect to share similar good news with dozens more homeowners in the next few weeks.”

Today’s HMGP award includes $1,735,060 for the city of Tarboro, $130,652 for Halifax County and $806,589 for Robeson County. It follows awards of $10.4 million to assist 65 homeowners in Fayetteville, Camden, Edgecombe, Moore and Nash counties announced earlier this spring. 

A portion of the latest Hazard Mitigation Grant Program award will be used to purchase seven flood-damaged homes in Tarboro and demolish and remove them, leaving the property open to help prevent future flooding at the site. The remaining grant award will help elevate 14 homes including 7 homes in Tarboro, one Halifax home and 6 Robeson county homes to minimize future flood damage.

The federal program uses a combination of federal and state funds to elevate, reconstruct or buy-out qualified homeowners whose home is at risk of repeated damage from flooding.  Following major disasters, a percentage of total federal recovery funds is designated to develop more resilient communities using one of the approved methods. North Carolina earned the status of an Enhanced Hazard Mitigation state based on its thorough plan and program history, meaning a larger portion of the program is paid for by federal funds. That enhanced status, which FEMA renewed in May, translated into an additional $25 million to help 210 more homeowners following Hurricane Matthew.  

State emergency management officials anticipate approximately $115 million total in HMGP grants will be awarded to help Matthew survivors get into more flood-resistant homes. They hope to have all of the mitigation grants awarded by early August.

This program has proven its value repeatedly, helping protect homeowners from additional disasters. 

“More than 4,000 North Carolina homeowners and properties have benefited from this program over the past 20 years, helping North Carolina avoid another $118 million in losses after Hurricane Matthew,” Sprayberry noted. 

NC Emergency Management staff evaluated more than 3,000 applications from homeowners for HMGP funding in the months after Matthew, 10 times the typical number as compared to similar disasters. As a comparison, it took staff 18 months to evaluate 300 applications after Hurricane Irene in 2011.

NCEM staff then submitted applications to FEMA to either acquire, elevate or reconstruct nearly 800 different properties damaged by Hurricane Matthew. NCEM supported local governments by writing each grant application on their behalf.  

“Our state and local emergency managers worked together tirelessly to process and evaluate each application in record time to expedite the funding process as much as possible,” said Resiliency Chief Nick Burk.  

Now that FEMA has approved the projects, the state can enter into the required project agreements with the receiving counties and city and discuss program requirements. It is then up to each jurisdiction to select contractors and begin the actual demolition work. The city or county will distribute the grant funds to the homeowner and will then be reimbursed by NCEM.

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