LONGLEAF POLITICS | Hurricane Matthew struck eastern North Carolina on Oct. 9, 2016.
A full 18 months later, some of the first federally funded repairs are slated to begin this June.
Hurricane Matthew has re-emerged as a political issue in Raleigh as thousands of people in eastern North Carolina await public money to rebuild.
The storm was one of the most devastating in North Carolina’s history, killing 31 people and caused more than $4.8 billion in damage. Matthew set rainfall records in 17 counties, and 2,300 people were rescued from floodwaters.
Why is recovery taking so long?
It mostly has to do with the processes set up to distribute the roughly $1.7 billion in recovery aid expected from the federal and state government.
While the initial response from the N.C. National Guard and FEMA came quickly, North Carolina has been in no hurry to distribute money intended for longer-term recovery.
And as it turns out, there’s a huge difference between money that’s been approved — and money that’s actually been used.
The breakdown of funding sources is an alphabet soup of agencies, each with its own policies and mechanisms and hoops to jump through. State governments have incentives to get roads repaired quickly. Homes, not so much.
Here’s a quick explanation of how disaster recovery works. It’s ordered by how quickly money has been distributed.
For residents who suffered losses during Hurricane Florence, Disaster Recovery Centers are now open in several locations around the state, with information and resources to assist in recovery.
These centers offer in-person support to both individuals and businesses. Specialists can discuss available recovery programs and provide guidance for filing applications for disaster assistance.
All centers are fully accessible to people with disabilities, and for those who need translation assistance.
Whether you are a homeowner, renter or a business owner, it is important to register for disaster assistance prior to visiting a recovery center by going online to www.DisasterAssistance.gov or calling FEMA at 800-621-FEMA.
If your home is insured, file your insurance claim before visiting a Disaster Recovery Center. Be sure to take photos to document your damage.
When you arrive at the recovery center, please bring the following information with you:
Address for home or business that was damaged
Current mailing address
Current telephone number.
Total household annual income.
Routing and account number for checking or savings account to allow for direct transfer of funds into your bank account.
A description of disaster-caused damage and losses.
Centers are open in these locations:
Former Eckerd/Rite Aid Drugstore
710 Degraffenreid Ave.
312 Western Blvd
Grantsboro Town Hall
10628 NC Highway 55 East
County Civic Center
794 Highway 58 South
Bobby Andrews Center
231 East Seventh Street
Additional Disaster Recovery Centers will be opening in the coming days and weeks.