LUMBERTON — Today is the last day to apply for a hazard mitigation grant being offered through the state Division of Emergency Management for those who suffered significant property losses to Hurricane Matthew.
Division officials began accepting applications Tuesday for three hazard mitigation grants that are being offered through the Division’s recovery section. Statewide, $100 million has been allocated to help victims of Matthew. The grants make available money for property buyouts, to increase home elevations, and home renovations.
Applications for the hazard mitigation grants will be taken today from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the upstairs conference room of the old Department of Social Services building on N.C. 711 in Lumberton.
Property owners who already have received Federal Emergency Management Agency money for their losses can still apply for the hazard mitigation grants, according to Dixon Ivey Jr., Robeson County’s director of Planning and Inspections.
Warren Altman, of South Lumberton, applied for money to raise his home on Nevada Street to protect it from flooding.
“FEMA helped me and my wife with $1,200 for shelter immediately after the storm,” he said. “We stayed about six and a half weeks with our daughter in Durham and then were able to return to our home.”
The most recent numbers show that FEMA has approved $93.9 million to help North Carolina residents recover from the storm, said Nathan Custer, a FEMA spokesman. Robeson County residents have received more than a quarter of that amount, $24.6 million. Robeson County property owners account for 18,533 of the 81,430 registrations submitted statewide to FEMA.
The latest figures are through Tuesday, Custer said. Originally 10 of North Carolina’s 100 counties were included in the state disaster declaration that paved the way for FEMA assistance for property owners who suffered damage or total loss as a result of the storm. The number of eligible counties eventually rose to 45.
Registration totals and rounded amounts from nearby counties are: Cumberland, 14,794 registrations, $15.5 million; Columbus, 5,186 registrations, $6.1 million; Bladen, 2,969 registrations, $2.3 million; Pender, 962 registrations, $2.1 million; Duplin, 1,329 registrations and $1.1 million; Hoke, 1,939 registrations, $755,999; Jones, 226 registrations, $379,247; Moore, 395 registrations, $354,782; Brunswick, 798 registrations, $315,976; Onslow, 441 registrations, $206,787; Scotland, 547 registrations, $98,560; Richmond, 173 registrations, $70,726; and Anson, 96 registrations, $14,917.
No exact figure of damage to Robeson County has been reported, but statewide damage has been estimated to be about $2 billion. Based on the $2 billion statewide estimate, and FEMA funds already approved to assist Robeson County property owners, it appears Robeson County incurred about a quarter of the statewide property damage, or about $500 million.
Custer said the numbers for registrations and approved monetary assistance are totals dating back to Oct. 10. The registration period closed Jan. 23.
“There will be very few exceptions,” he said. “Additional registrations will only be taken in unusual situations.”
The recently released statistics also show there are still 307 families being housed in Robeson County motels as part of FEMA’s temporary housing program. There are a total of 786 families checked into hotels in the 11 counties across the state.
The TSA program has been extended in 14-day increments since the original Jan. 7 deadline.
“We are currently in a 14-day extension which runs until March 3,” Custer said.
During each 14-day extension, FEMA has been contacting the families to ensure they are making progress toward finding permanent housing.
Bob Shiles can be reached at 910-416-5165.