Governor Cooper Seeks Federal Aid for Hurricane Matthew Recovery Nearly $1 billion requested for affordable housing, farmers, small businesses

RALEIGH

North Carolina is asking Congress for federal assistance to help families, businesses and communities working to rebuild from Hurricane Matthew, Gov. Roy Cooper announced today.

“Matthew was so destructive that its name has been retired, but North Carolina will never forget how this hurricane turned life upside down for so many people in our state,” said Gov. Cooper. “We’re working closely with our local, state and federal partners to seek the resources needed to help storm survivors rebuild homes and help businesses and communities recover.”

The formal Congressional request encompasses the state’s unmet needs as calculated by state Emergency Management, which is tasked with leading North Carolina’s disaster recovery. It includes needs documented by Gov. Cooper’s administration, the Council of State, and federal agencies with properties and services in North Carolina. Cooper’s administration is working with the state’s Congressional delegation, led by Sen. Thom Tillis, Rep. David Price and Rep. David Rouzer, to advocate for the nearly $1 billion in additional federal dollars for unmet recovery needs. The new request reflects damage assessments compiled from all 50 disaster-affected counties.

Additional federal funds are not guaranteed and state legislators will also be asked to appropriate matching funds and fulfill non-federal requests in support of our efforts to rebuild, Gov. Cooper said.

“Though the emergency nature of the disaster has passed the urgency of long-term recovery remains,” he said. “The success of the recovery will affect the economic health and well-being of our entire state, so it’s vital to rebuild these communities.”

Nearly six months ago, Hurricane Matthew dumped eight to 12 inches of rain across much of eastern and central North Carolina, causing an estimated $4.8 billion in damage. The deadly storm displaced thousands of families and damaged more than 98,000 homes and over 19,000 businesses.

“We’re making strides toward recovery, but more help is needed, especially to rebuild and repair affordable housing, help farmers who suffered crop and livestock losses, aid businesses and industries, and fund repairs to schools and other public facilities,” Gov. Cooper said.

Gov. Cooper’s request for $929,403,389 in additional federal assistance includes the following:

  • Housing Repairs:$166.6 million to help homeowners with repairs, $63.7 million to repair rental housing, and $15.2 million to repair public housing in Princeville and Lumberton.
  • Housing Elevation:$434 million for buyout, elevation and reconstruction of 3,962 properties that flooded during Matthew and are at risk for future flooding.
  • Agriculture:$92.6 million to cover losses for farmers not covered by the USDA such as livestock, farm equipment, and feed.
  • Public Facilities: $43 million to repair public facilities and retrofit infrastructure like storm drains and sewer lines to prevent future damage.
  • Small Businesses: $39 million to help 691 small businesses impacted by the storm.
  • Health:$37 million, to support health and mental health services for storm survivors and to help with repairs to health care facilities, child care centers, and social services agencies.

In a letter to North Carolina’s Congressional Delegation, Gov. Cooper wrote, “Even if fully funded, this second supplemental request will not return North Carolina to its pre-storm levels, but it will enable us to restore primary infrastructure and to protect our state’s residents, with a priority on housing for those most vulnerable in our communities who have no way to repair or replace homes or businesses even with the help of neighbors and the generosity of charities.”

The new funding request for hurricane recovery is in addition to approximately $1.4 billion in state and federal funds already dedicated to provide temporary shelter, repair damaged homes, businesses and public facilities, and develop plans to rebuild stronger communities.

Those funds are helping North Carolina make progress toward recovery in a number of areas, including:

  • Help for Families:Nearly 82,000 households with Matthew-related damage to their homes have registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for assistance.
  • Temporary Housing:Approximately 270 families displaced by Matthew continue to live in hotels under a FEMA temporary shelter program, down from more than 3,000 families. Widespread damage to rental properties, including low-income housing, has kept the temporary shelter program open in the hardest hit counties.
  • Roads:The N.C. Department of Transportation has reopened all but 14 of 625 roads that Hurricane Matthew damaged or closed.
  • Public Projects:FEMA has approved $42 million for 385 local projects to repair, relocate or replace dozens of heavily damaged public facilities and infrastructure projects, ranging from restoring senior centers and a community ball field to replacing fire stations and sewer treatment facilities.
  • Hazard Mitigation:NCEM and FEMA conducted education and intake sessions in 18 communities that are eligible for financial help to reduce the likelihood of future storm damage, including buyouts. Nearly 2,400 applicants registered by the March 31 deadline for expedited processing; several hundred more applications are expected before the final May 1 deadline.