N.C. sees $423 million in federal assistance from Florence

Published 6:03 pm Thursday, October 18, 2018

Including all forms of federal assistance in the wake of Hurricane Florence, $423 million has been approved for North Carolina as of Wednesday, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Individual assistance for Florence victims continues to rise.

As of Thursday, $101 million had been approved for 29,000 people (homeowners and renters), according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Of that amount, $84.5 million was for housing assistance and $16.5 million was approved for other-needs assistance. Housing assistance provides money for disaster-related housing needs, while other-needs assistance provides funds for other disaster-related needs such as household furnishings, transportation and medical care. Nov. 13 is the deadline to register for this type of assistance.

Disaster recovery centers in Beaufort and Hyde counties will close Saturday, according to a FEMA news release. The Beaufort County center, located at the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center at 23 E. Seventh St., will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday. The Hyde County center, located at O.A. Peay School, 1430 Main St., Swan Quarter, will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today and Saturday.

The deadline for victims to apply for individual property damage assistance is Sept. 29, according to a FEMA news release. The deadline for local governments to apply for public damage assistance also is Sept. 29.

The city is offering the remainder of its 2018 façade grant money toward hurricane repairs for downtown buildings. Property owners should contact Emily Rebert, the city’s historic preservation planner, for information on how to apply for the funds. Applications will be reviewed by the Historic Preservation Commission at its Nov. 7 meeting. The commission decides who gets funding. Rebert can be reached at 252-946-0897 or by email at erebert@washingtonnc.gov.

On Monday, the N.C. General Assembly approved $850 million for Florence relief. That amount includes $56.5 million allocated two weeks ago. “This is a great start, a great beginning, to get us where we need to go,” said Republican state Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern. Speciale represents Beaufort, Craven and Pamlico counties, three of the harder hit counties.

Legislative leaders anticipate approving more relief assistance next month.

Counties and municipalities that are eligible for federal disaster-recovery assistance may be reimbursed for specific expenses in two categories: emergency work and permanent work. Under emergency work, expenses related to work that must be performed to reduce or eliminate an immediate threat to life, protect public health and safety and to protect improved property that is significantly threatened due to disasters or emergencies declared by the president could be reimbursed. Under permanent work, expenditures related to work required to restore a damaged facility, through repair or restoration, to its pre-disaster design, function, and capacity in accordance with applicable codes and standards could be reimbursed.

After Hurricane Matthew in October 2016, the City of Washington estimated its expenses related to recovery efforts at $378,000 for include overtime salaries, fuel, food, safety gear such as boots, debris removal and equipment repair.

On Oct. 8, the city appropriated $925,423 for estimated expenses related to Florence, said Matt Rauschenbach, the city’s chief financial officer, on Thursday. It’s seeking that amount in reimbursement from FEMA. Adjustments will be made as expenditures and reimbursement claims are finalized.

There are three ways to reach FEMA to register for possible disaster assistance:

  • online at DisasterAssistance.gov;
  • call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 for voice, 711 and Video Relay Service. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability and use a TTY, call 800-462-7585;
  • download the FEMA mobile app.

Anyone applying for assistance will need the following:

  • Social Security number;
  • daytime telephone number;
  • current mailing address and address and zip code of the damaged property;
  • insurance information, if available.




About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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