NC Emergency Management has announced that Johnston County will receive $288,223 in federal and state funds through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to elevate two homes that were damaged by Hurricane Matthew’s floodwaters.
“This funding is welcome news for families who need help rebuilding their homes and getting their lives back to normal,” said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. The specific address of the two homes was not disclosed.
NCEM has previously announced HMGP awards of more than $1.6 million to Johnston County for eight homes in flood prone areas to be acquired and demolished and for one home to be reconstructed. The Town of Smithfield is receiving $2.07 million to elevate two homes and acquire and demolish eight homes. Statewide, the total for Hurricane Matthew Hazard Mitigation projects has reached 641 homes and $81.8 million.
Now that FEMA has approved the projects, the state can enter into the required project agreements with the receiving county and discuss program requirements. It is then up to the local jurisdiction to select contractors and begin the actual construction work. The county will distribute the grant funds to the homeowner and will then be reimbursed by NCEM.
“We are nearing the end of the Hazard Mitigation Grant process for Hurricane Matthew,” said Sprayberry. “With more than $81 million now in the hands of towns and counties, local officials are securing contractors and making final preparations to elevate, reconstruct or demolish more than 600 flooded homes. Getting these homes out of the floodplain will help lessen the damage caused by future hurricanes and floods.”
State emergency management officials anticipate approximately $115 million total in HMGP grants will be awarded to help Matthew survivors get into more flood-resistant homes. So far, grant awards have been announced for 83 percent of applications, with five more grants remaining to be awarded.
The federal program uses a combination of federal and state funds to elevate, reconstruct or buy-out qualified homeowners whose home is at risk of repeated damage from flooding. Following major disasters, a percentage of total federal recovery funds is designated to develop more resilient communities using one of the approved methods. North Carolina earned the status of an Enhanced Hazard Mitigation state based on its thorough plan and program history, meaning a larger portion of the program is paid for by federal funds That enhanced status, which FEMA renewed in May, translated into an additional $25 million to help 210 more homeowners following Hurricane Matthew.
This program has proven its value repeatedly, helping protect homeowners from additional disasters. More than 4,000 North Carolina homeowners and properties have benefited from mitigation measures during the past 20 years.
In the months after Hurricane Matthew, NC Emergency Management staff evaluated more than 3,000 applications from homeowners for HMGP funding, 10 times the typical number as compared to similar disasters. As a comparison, it took staff 18 months to evaluate 300 applications after Hurricane Irene in 2011.
NCEM staff then submitted applications to FEMA to either acquire, elevate or reconstruct nearly 800 different properties damaged by Hurricane Matthew. NCEM supported local governments by writing each grant application on their behalf.