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NC to Move Forward with Recovery Program

The North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency can now move forward with developing a draft action plan for more than $542 million in Community Development Block Grant — Disaster Recovery funding for Hurricane Florence.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, released details of a federal register notice the governor’s office announced Tuesday. The HUD draft on the Federal Register is available online.

When HUD approves a final action plan, the new funds will allow the recovery and resiliency office to expand its delivery of home repair, reconstruction, elevation and other recovery programs through the agency’s ReBuild NC program.

“This is an important step by the federal government to get additional funds to families still recovering from Hurricane Florence. North Carolinians have waited for these funds since 2018 and we will continue to push for federal legislation to help the federal government to speed up this process and get assistance to the people who need it,” said Gov. Roy Cooper in a statement.

The federal register notice identified these 10 counties as the most impacted and distressed areas due to impacts from Hurricane Florence: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties. The four impacted zip codes identified by the federal register notice include 28352 in Scotland County, 28390 in Cumberland County, 28433 in Bladen County and 29571 in Pamlico County.  Federal regulations require that the state spend 80% of the funding in those locations.

State residents have waited for the publication of spending guidelines since congress voted to allocate funding for disaster recovery on Oct. 5, 2018, and June 6, 2019, according to the governor’s office. Cooper has worked to reduce the length of time it takes to receive and disburse federal funds to families who need them and has made specific recommendations to the Trump Administration to streamline policies.

The Office of Recovery and Resiliency administers the state’s HUD disaster recovery and mitigation funding, as well as a state-funded grant and loan program to assist local governments.

To date, North Carolina has spent $3.3 billion in total state and federal funding to help survivors of hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

State officials expect a draft action plan to be complete next month, when it will be published and made available for a 30-day public comment period. After the public comment period, HUD will take up to 45 days to review the action plan before funds can be spent. Visit the website for the latest information on ReBuild NC activities statewide.

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Staff Report

The story was compiled by staff members of Coastal Review Online.