Raleigh – NC Emergency Management announced Wednesday that 18 homeowners across central and eastern North Carolina soon will receive $2.7 million in federal and state funds to acquire, elevate or reconstruct homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Two of those homeowners are in Smithfield.
“This latest round of funding assistance 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. “We are very pleased to see this funding become available and we’re doing all we can to get it to people in need.”
This is the fifth award of Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) and will help more homeowners move into more resilient homes. This round of funding will be used to reconstruct three homes, elevate four homes and acquire 11 properties so the homeowners can find housing outside the floodplain.
Wednesday’s HMGP awards include:
Town of Smithfield – $299,292 to elevate 2 homes.
Bladen County – $938,444 to reconstruct 3 homes and acquire 3 properties.
Columbus County – $243,216 to acquire 1 property.
Duplin County – $648,390 to acquire 4 properties.
Sampson County – $611,512 to acquire 3 properties and elevate 2 homes.
In the past two months, NCEM has announced awards of $24.4 million in hazard mitigation grants to help 168 homeowners in impacted counties.
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.
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. They hope to have all of the mitigation grants awarded by early August.
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.
NC Emergency Management staff evaluated more than 3,000 applications from homeowners for HMGP funding in the months after Matthew, 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.
Now that FEMA has approved the projects, the state can enter into the required project agreements with the receiving counties and city and discuss program requirements. It is then up to each jurisdiction to select contractors and begin the actual demolition work. The city or county will distribute the grant funds to the homeowner and will then be reimbursed by NCEM.