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Assistance available to repair, rebuild and elevate damaged homes.
The state on Monday opened a new program to help people repair and replace their homes that were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Florence in 2018 or Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Gov. Roy Cooper said.
The new Rebuild NC Homeowner Recovery Program program uses federal hurricane relief money and is available to people who owned and occupied their homes during either storm, the program’s website says. It’s for people whose household income is no more than 150% of their local area’s median income — in Cumberland County, for example, a family of four could have an income of up to $87,150 and qualify, the website says.
Anyone who thinks he or she could qualify for the assistance is encouraged to apply, a news release says.
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The news release says the money may be used to “repair, reconstruct or elevate homes damaged by the storms.”
People interested in applying for the program can do so online at rebuild.nc.gov or by calling 833-ASK-RBNC (833-275-7262).
“Some North Carolinians and their communities are still recovering from the devestation of Hurricanes Matthew and Florence,” Cooper said in a news conference to discuss the program and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“These families are dealing with the threat of COVID-19 while at the same time they’re trying to rebuild their homes and businesses. Despite the virus the work of hurricane recovery continues,” he said.
Cooper has been criticized about how long it has taken for people to receive assistance following Matthew and Florence. During a news conference on Monday he he blamed the federal government for delays in the response to Florence, and he cited how much work has been done.
“The program starting today took the federal government almost two years — 500 days after Florence made landfall — to publish the register laying out the requirements of how this money could be invested,” Cooper said.
Once the guidelines were published, the state turned in its plan within 24 hours, Cooper said, and North Carolina was the first state to receive approval for its plan.
The money is coming from $542 million in community development block grants that the federal government made available to North Carolina, the news release says. Of this, $325 million is going to the Homeowner Recovery Program, said Haley Pfeiffer Haynes, who is spokeswoman for the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency said, and another $112 million from Hurricane Matthew funding is being added to it.
Cooper said North Carolina has spent more than $3.5 billion in state and federal money to assist people and communities for losses from Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence.
According to the Office of Recovery and Resiliency, applicants to the Homeowner Recovery Program must have owned and occupied their damaged homes during either one of the storms and most continue to own their homes until the work is completed.
Staff writer Paul Woolverton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 910-486-3512.