Gov. Cooper released the following statement today on North Carolina receiving $336.5 million in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding to assist communities struggling to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Florence. The money will not be made available to the state until the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published an official notice in the Federal Register, which will outline the regulatory guidelines that must be followed when spending the funds.
In a May 7 letter, Governor Roy Cooper and bipartisan governors from nine additional states urged President Trump and Congressional leaders to finalize additional federal disaster relief.
“While today’s grant award is a step toward providing much needed aid to Hurricane Florence survivors, far more is needed to help North Carolinians rebuild their lives and communities,” said Governor Cooper. “The recovery from these storms, fires and floods will continue to require federal help. It's time for Congress to work together to pass additional disaster relief legislation."
The amount falls short of the nearly $1 billion that the state had been estimated to receive when the disaster relief legislation was approved in October. At that time, the funds were to be directed to North Carolina and South Carolina for Hurricane Florence recovery. However, when subsequent natural disasters occurred, including the massive California wildfires and Hurricane Michael’s destruction in Florida, the funding package had to be divided among more states to address additional recovery needs nationwide.
The CDBG-DR program is a major source of funds for rebuilding and recovery but not the sole source of help. Recovery spending for Hurricane Florence in North Carolina has topped $1.58 billion to date, to include grants from FEMA to households, Small Business Administration loans, payments to farmers and fishermen, National Flood Insurance payments, disaster unemployment payments and more.
CDBG-DR funds are also being used to help North Carolina recover from Hurricane Matthew. To date, North Carolina has received $236.5 million from Hurricane Matthew CDBG-DR funds and is still waiting for an additional $168 million in Hurricane Matthew CDBG-DR funds that will be used for mitigation projects. Like today’s grant award, the mitigation funds will not be available to the state until HUD has published an official notice in the Federal Register, which will include guidelines that must be followed when spending the money. Overall, North Carolina has put more than $1.14 billion on the ground to help impacted communities recover from Hurricane Matthew.
The N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency, in partnership with the N.C. Department of Commerce, is charged with administering CDBG-DR funds for the state. Established by Governor Cooper in the wake of Hurricane Florence, the office provides disaster recovery coordination with services that include oversight of recovery funding, processing of program applications, construction and vendor management, and public outreach and education, among other responsibilities.