Governor says more than $700 million in hurricane relief to NC

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Federal and state dollars are flowing into areas impacted by Hurricane Florence, but many remain without a home. Governor Roy Cooper came to Wilmington today and made a stop at the Disaster Recovery Center at Independence Mall.

Governor Cooper says the state is making progress with recovery efforts. He says people need to keep pushing because there is still a lot of work ahead.

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“This has to be our main focus, over getting southeastern North Carolina back on its feet,” said Governor Cooper.

More than $711 million in state and federal dollars for hurricane relief have been given to the state. Cooper says they just started the “STEP” – Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power – program, in hopes of getting roofs over people’s heads.

“That provides initial help to get a home safe, sanitary and secure, even though it may not be completely finished yet. But it would be a place that you can do quickly to get the home in a livable situation,” said Cooper.

Along with STEP, Governor Cooper says more than 1,000 people are in hotels, and 34 FEMA trailers are up and running.

Cooper says FEMA hopes to add 10 more trailers each day, starting next week. The Small Business Administration also urges people to keep applying.

“That applies not only to the small businesses, which is pretty obvious from our name, but to homeowners and renters who have had damage as well,” said Carl Dombek, with the SBA.

Dombek says they have approved more than $254 million in loans statewide. Cooper says the work is not done.

“We have to remember that as we rebuild, we have to make us less susceptible to flooding in the future. We have to lessen the impact of future floods,” said Cooper.

Cooper says it is about a smart, strong rebuild. He says every time he visits, he sees more people signing up for relief.