Gov. Cooper Urges North Carolinians to Register with FEMA
RALEIGH — North Carolina continues to make progress recovering from Hurricane Florence, with more than $895 million in state and federal resources already approved, Governor Roy Cooper said Wednesday. He urged anyone who sustained damaged from the storm to apply for help if they haven’t already.
“Across North Carolina, many people’s lives were turned upside down by Hurricane Florence and we must keep pushing to get them the help they need and deserve,” Gov. Cooper said. “Registering with FEMA is the first step to getting access to critical help to recover and rebuild.”
Gov. Cooper continues to push for more federal and state resources to help communities and families hit hard by the storm. Last week, he traveled to Washington to meet with the state’s Congressional delegation and key federal officials.
Hurricane Florence made landfall at Wrightsville Beach on Friday, September 14 and brought historic rainfall, damaging flooding, and 10-foot storm surge to the state. The storm caused an estimated $17 billion in damages statewide.
Florence is now blamed for the loss of 42 North Carolina lives. The most recent death attributed to the storm by public health officials involved a 76-year-old man who died in a motor vehicle crash in Jones County while returning home from a shelter on September 23.
“Some storm losses can never be repaired or replaced,” Gov. Cooper said. “We continue to mourn the lives lost to Hurricane Florence as we face the task of recovery with determination and compassion.”
Individuals and Households Program
To date, North Carolina homeowners and renters have been approved for more than $115 million in assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with $95.5 million of that money already on the ground to more than 33,300 households.
People in 34 counties are eligible to apply for Individual Assistance: Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Union, Wayne and Wilson.
At Governor Cooper’s request, the application deadline was extended by one month. The deadline to apply for FEMA assistance is now Dec. 13, 2018.
To register for help from FEMA:
- Visit DisasterAssistance.gov or Disaster Assistance.gov/es for Spanish.
- Call 800-621-3362 or 800-462-7585 (TTY) anytime from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. local time seven days a week until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.
- Visit a disaster recovery center. To find center locations and current hours, download the FEMA mobile app in English or Spanish, use the ReadyNC app, or visit FEMA.gov/DRC. Center hours and operations are adjusted based on visitor demand.
- In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available by calling or texting 202-655-8824. Go online to watch a video on how to request an American Sign Language interpreter.
Across North Carolina, 51 counties are also getting help from FEMA with things like storm debris removal and repairing critical public infrastructure through the Public Assistance program.
As of November 20, FEMA has approved $95.8 million in housing help for 32,476 North Carolina households. This includes temporary housing in hotels, apartments, travel trailers and manufactured housing.
A total of 398 North Carolina families with 1,118 household members are currently staying in hotels through the Transitional Sheltering Assistance Program with FEMA.
A total of 118 North Carolina families now have temporary housing through travel trailers and manufactured homes provided by FEMA, with hundreds more temporary homes on the way. Direct Temporary Housing Assistance is available to survivors in certain counties whose homes are likely to be able to be repaired within six months. FEMA has currently approved these housing units for 13 counties – Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, New Hanover and Robeson. Temporary housing units are typically placed on the damaged home’s property or located in a commercial park.
People must first register with FEMA to be considered for either the Transitional Sheltering Assistance or travel trailer/manufactured housing programs.
Back@Home North Carolina is working to help families transition to longer-term housing if they are not eligible for FEMA assistance. Launched by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Back@Home NC to date has helped more than 80 qualified families move into permanent housing. Services include housing navigation, rental assistance and case management. Affected families can call 2-1-1 to learn more about the program.
Low Interest Loans
In addition to help through FEMA, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low interest loans to homeowners and renters who suffered storm damage. So far, $264.8 million in loans have been approved for 6,917 North Carolina homeowners and renters and another $34 million in loans are approved for 574 North Carolina business owners. The deadline for filing an SBA application is Dec. 13, 2018.
Completing the SBA loan application is also key to receiving certain FEMA grants, so people should apply even if they do not plan to use an SBA loan.
Help for Businesses
The Small Business Administration (SBA) also provides loans to businesses that suffered physical and/or economic damage from the storm. The SBA operates 10 Business Recovery Centers to assist business owners affected by Florence. They are located in Bladen, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Johnston, New Hanover, Onslow, Pitt, and Robeson counties. To find the nearest Business Recovery Center, call 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to email@example.com.
More help for North Carolina businesses recovering from Florence is available through the NC Department of Commerce and the Small Business Technology Development Center, available at sbtdc.org/hurricaneflorence/.
The first line of defense against any disaster damage to homes and property is always insurance. To date, the National Flood Insurance Program has paid almost 15,000 claims totaling more than $480 million to North Carolinians who suffered damage from Florence.
People who lost their jobs as a direct result of the effects of Hurricane Florence on North Carolina can apply for help. North Carolinians who believe they may be eligible can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance through the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Division of Employment Security. So far, more than 3,600 North Carolinians have received $2,268,558 in regular unemployment insurance related to the disaster. Another 1,153 North Carolinians have received $621,691 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance.
Emergency Food Help
More than 720,000 North Carolinians in the 34 federally-declared disaster counties received disaster food assistance in the weeks immediately following Hurricane Florence. This help was provided through the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or D-SNAP. DHHS also took other steps to make emergency food help available to those in need after the storm.
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services secured more than $8.5 million in federal and state funding to support the ongoing behavioral health needs of those impacted by Hurricane Florence. Of the funding, $3.5 million will fund a door-to-door behavioral health outreach program across all impacted areas because many needing services may be relocated.
Help Available Through 211
People impacted by Hurricane Florence can call 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162, or text FLORENCE to 898211, to reach operators who can provide housing, recovery and other post-storm assistance-related information. The information line is staffed around-the-clock. Other resources can be found by visiting ncdps.gov/florence
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