Fair Bluff residents have meetings for Hurricane Matthew financial assistance

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The Adams Company held one-on-one meetings in Fair Bluff on Wednesday to discuss federal hazard mitigation money for victims of Hurricane Matthew. 

The owner of the Adams Company, Floyd Adams, said the timing of the meeting so soon after Hurricane Florence hit is just a coincidence. The meetings were rescheduled ahead of Florence.

These meetings come after Gov. Roy Cooper visited Fair Bluff in August. According to the governor, 71 properties in Fair Bluff have been approved for about $8.5 million in hazard mitigation money. 

People who filed for assistance after Hurricane Matthew were eligible to attend the meetings and the company will review the choices residents have, whether it be:

  • a buyout of the home and getting paid pre-Matthew value; 
  • an elevation of the existing house two feet above flood level; 
  • or reconstructing homes damaged beyond elevation, tearing it down and building to new standards.

Money from the hazard mitigation grant will pay the company.

Adams met with residents to talk about lining up surveyors and appraisers solely for Matthew damage.

“I pull on your heartstrings a lot to start with because this happened two years ago, the exact same thing, and we’re here trying to help them from a previous storm,” Adams said. “We’re having to separate the two because they’re two different storms. We’re talking to people who aren’t actually in their home now. They had to fix it, and were back in it and wanted elevation and a lot of them are saying, ‘The elevation isn’t going to work for us now. We need a buyout. We’re destroyed again.’” Adams said.

James Oliver lost his home to Matthew. He said he didn’t mind waiting for help and he’s happy it’s here.

“As a military man, I’m used to hurry up and wait,” Oliver said. “Patience is a virtue so whenever it comes, it comes and it’s welcome.

“I think it’s a good thing. … At least they got something going and it gives people hope. That’s what we need right now.”

Oliver and his wife filed for a buyout.

Daryl Pugh also lost his home to Matthew. He didn’t wait for federal money to rebuild in the same spot four feet higher.

Florence spared his home, but he wants to be reimbursed for the money he spent rebuilding.

“For me, it hits you in the gut because we filed for this immediately after Matthew,” Pugh said. “We had a certain amount of time we had to get the paperwork in. We did what they told us to, did everything they asked for and kept hearing, ‘It’s coming.’ Well, you know, second hurricane, still hadn’t seen anything, so it’s a kick in the gut personally.”

The owner of the Adams Company said it’s not a reimbursement program, but the company will check with state and federal leaders for unique situations like Pugh’s.

The same goes for residents who want a buyout now instead of elevating or rebuilding their homes because of Florence storm damage. Each scenario has to be run by state and federal leaders before a decision is made.

More meetings with residents are planned next week. Seventy-one people are on the list to meet with the Adams Company.

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