Category: Housing

March 1st, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Thirty-three college students from Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania, along with 34 high school students and chaperones from Missouri, will be spending their spring break helping build Habitat for Humanity homes in New Bern. 

WHO

  • March 4-9 – Sacred Heart University (Connecticut) with 15 students
  • March 11-16 –  Lycoming College (Pennsylvania) with 18 students, University of Rochester (NY) with 7 students
  • March 25-30 – St. Mary’s Catholic High School (Missouri) with 34 students and adult chaperones

WHAT

Collegiate Challenge is Habitat for Humanity’s year-round alternative break program, founded in 1989

WHEN

Monday through Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each of the three weeks

WHERE

  • March 4-7 – Habitat home #68 at 876 Howard Street, New Bern
  • March 11-14 – Habitat home #67 at 1022 North Bern Street and #68 at 876 Howard Street
  • March 25-28 – Habitat home #67 at 1022 North Bern Street and #68 at 876 Howard Street

WHY

To provide opportunities for students from colleges, high schools and youth groups to spend a week volunteering in partnership with a Habitat for Humanity affiliate in the US. Additionally, the program is designed to empower communities and create environments where exchange and interaction between student groups and community residents can take place to share concerns about ending substandard housing.

HOW

Coordinated by Habitat for Humanity of Craven County with the support and hospitality of the New Bern community. Overnight accommodations are being provided by area churches and meals are generally hosted by individuals, churches, or civic organizations. 

Habitat for Humanity of Craven County is celebrating its 30th year as an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a non-profit Christian housing ministry. Since 1989, the local organization has built 66 homes in partnership with homeowners who are deemed eligible by the Selection Committee, impacting 105 adults and over 120 children. When each home is completed, the homeowner is responsible to pay a no-interest mortgage and other expenses associated with owning their own home. To date, the mortgages on 16 homes (25 percent) have been fully paid off.  Habitat does not give away houses, but does make it possible for deserving families to realize strength, stability and self-sufficiency through homeownership.

For additional information about Habitat Craven County, contact the Deedra Durocher, Volunteer Coordinator at 252-633-9599, 252-670-1907 or volunteerhabitatcraven@gmail.com

Posted in Community, Community issues, Habitat for Humanity, Housing

February 12th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

Request will be made at Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting

New Bern community members and non-local activists will urge the New Bern Board of Aldermen to “Ban the Box” for hiring city employees at its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

“Ban the Box” is a hiring practice that encourages employers to identify potential hires with the best skills and experience and delay asking applicants about their criminal records until after a conditional offer is made.

Durham and Carrboro are among cities in North Carolina that have already adopted this “fair chance” hiring practice.

Ban the Box is a movement started in the early 2000s by All of Us or None, a national organization created and led by individuals directly impacted by incarceration and the criminal legal system.

People who have been involved in the criminal justice system often face collateral consequences, difficulties people face in finding housing, education, and employment because of a criminal record.  

Trouble finding employment is one of the most common collateral consequences that people face upon release. Those who have a record and disclose it on their initial job application are 50 percent less likely to receive a callback than their peers without a record.

Ban the Box programs do not prevent employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal record, but rather calls for employers to remove the initial question about criminal records from job applications (“the box”) and delay any related questions until after a conditional offer is made. This process ensures the best person is being hired for the job and also allows the employer to continue to make decisions about the relevancy of the record to the job.

What: Public comments on ‘Ban the Box’ at New Bern Board of Alderman meeting

When: Tuesday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m.

Where: City Hall Courtroom, 300 Pollock St., New Bern

Who: New Bern community members and representatives from All of Us or None – NC and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice Clean Slate Project

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Community, Community issues, Crime, Economy, Economy and Employment, Housing, Mayor, New Bern

January 30th, 2019 by newbernpostadmin

The New Bern Planning and Zoning Board will take a look at several proposed subdivisions. The board meets at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at City Hall, in the Courtroom on the second floor.

The proposals are:

  • Consideration of Major Subdivision General Plan Approval, submitted by Weyerhaeuser NR Company/McKim & Creed Inc., is a proposed 250 +/- acre, a 2 lot major subdivision located to the north of Downey Drive and south of N.C. Highway 43 North. The property is further identified as a portion of Craven County Parcel ID’s 8-209- 13001. The property is outside city limits but within the city’s Extra Territorial Jurisdiction.
  • Consideration of Major Subdivision General Plan Approval, submitted by Robert Chiles
    Engineering, is a proposed 12.44 +/- acre, 3-lot major subdivision located to the west and east of Newman Road and to the south of Wellons Boulevard. The property is further identified as Craven County Parcel ID’s 8-212-8010, 8-212-076, and 8-212-8009, in Ward 6. Developers propose to build a hotel on the land.
  • E. Thomas Engineering/Stars & Stripes 4F, LLC, is requesting final subdivision plan
    approval for “Tyler, Home on the Lake” (formerly known as “Lake Tyler”) Phases 7, 8 11 and 12; a proposed 105-lot residential Planned Unit Development (PUD). This section of the multi-phase development is located on 6.03+/- acres in the R-10A Residential District. The site is located to the northwest of Washington Post Road and to the south of Gracie Farms Road. It is located in Ward 5.

Posted in Housing, Planning and Zoning

December 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

New Bern was selected as one of the nation’s top retirement destinations and one of its best small retirement towns by WhereToRetire.com in its sixth edition of “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire,” a guidebook of the country’s most appealing retirement towns.

WhereToRetire.com spent 11 months researching more than 800 cities. The chosen cities vary in size, climate, amenities and lifestyle, and each falls into one of 10 categories that focuses on the city’s defining feature, such as beaches, mountains, low costs, four seasons and appealing downtowns. Each city profile combines extensive research, local knowledge and in-depth interviews with retirees who made the move.

New Bern is a certified retirement community. The Certified Retirement Community designation means a city has completed a comprehensive evaluation process with requirements outlined by the North Carolina General Assembly.  Certified Retirement Communities are recognized for providing the amenities, services and opportunities retirees need to enjoy active and productive lives.

New Bern was recognized in April 2015 as one of the “10 Most Beautiful Towns in North Carolina,” and one of the “Top 10 Coastal Towns Where You Can Afford to Retire.”

Founded in 1710, New Bern it is the second oldest city in the state. It was the last colonial capital of North Carolina and its first state capital. “The City is a grand mix of carefully restored and maintained historical homes with old growth trees, a historic downtown, and contemporary houses ranging from condos to mansions, many with riverfront locations,” according to the website, Visit New Bern.

“New Bern’s character is palpable, and the people you meet are as vibrant as their surroundings. In addition to its beauty, New Bern is well-situated at the confluence of the Neuse and Trent Rivers, and only 35 miles from the Crystal Coast. The Atlantic Ocean is accessible by boat from New Bern, and New Bern’s rivers and creeks make a perfect playground for sailing, yachting, kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and fishing. New Bern has direct access to rivers and beaches without the high costs associated with beachfront living.”

Eight North Carolina cities were selected as top retirement destinations in “America’s 100 Best Places to Retire.” Other North Carolina towns are Boone/Blowing Rock, Charlotte, Durham, Hendersonville, Sylva, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem. 

North Carolina had the second highest number of towns on the list, behind only Florida. In addition, Winston-Salem was among the Best Four-Season Towns; Charlotte and Durham were among the Best Low-Cost Towns; and Boone/Blowing Rock, Hendersonville and Sylva were among the Best Mountain Towns.

For more information on visiting or relocating to New Bern go to www.VisitNewBern.com or www.visitnewbern.com/retire-new-bern/ Questions may be directed to marketingdirector@visitnewbern.com

Posted in Business, Community, Craven County, Downtown New Bern, Economy, Economy and Employment, Education, Entertainment, History, Housing, New Bern, Retirement

November 7th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has extended the deadline to apply for physical disaster damages in North Carolina. Businesses and individuals with physical damages caused by Hurricane Florence on Sept. 7 – 29, 2018, should apply for SBA low-interest disaster loans before the Dec. 13,

The disaster declaration covers the North Carolina counties of Anson, Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Chatham, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Greene, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Union, Wayne and Wilson; for economic injury only in the contiguous North Carolina counties of Alamance, Cabarrus, Caswell, Dare, Davidson, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Granville, Martin, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Nash, Person, Randolph, Rockingham, Stanly, Stokes, Tyrrell, Wake and Washington; and the contiguous South Carolina counties of Chesterfield, Dillon, Horry, Lancaster and Marlboro.

SBA disaster loans are available to businesses of all sizes, most private nonprofit organizations, homeowners and renters to cover uninsured losses from the disaster. Interest rates are as low as 3.675 percent for businesses, 2.5 percent for private nonprofit organizations, and 2.0 percent for homeowners and renters. Loan terms can be up to 30 years.

Economic injury disaster loans are also available to provide disaster related working capital to small businesses and most private nonprofit organizations. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.

Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.

To be considered for all forms of disaster assistance, applicants should register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app. If online or mobile access is unavailable, applicants should call the FEMA toll-free helpline at 800-621-3362. Those who use 711-Relay or Video Relay Services should call 800-621-3362.

Additional details on the locations of Disaster Recovery Centers and the loan application process can be obtained by calling the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an e-mail to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Dec. 13, 2018. The deadline to return economic injury applications is June 14, 2019.

The U.S. Small Business Administration makes the American dream of business ownership a reality. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit www.sba.gov.

Posted in Craven County, Economy and Employment, FEMA, Housing, Hurricane, New Bern, SBA

October 30th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Homeowners who have been impacted by Hurricane Florence have a valid “Natural Disaster” hardship.

Due to this hardship, there may be viable relief options available to homeowners from their mortgage companies, but homeowners may have no idea what is available and how to accomplish securing mortgage relief.

A two hour presentation for homeowners with a mortgage loan will cover the following:

First Hour ​​(55 Minutes)

  • Introduction
  • What Constitutes Disaster? C. Who Is Covered?
  • What Can Be Done?

Second Hour ​​ (55 Minutes)

What Documents Are Needed?

Where to Send Financial Packages?

What Is The Process?

How Long Should It Take?

What If Things Go Wrong?

Closing

Attendees will receive additional resources via email. Both the morning and afternoon sessions are the exact same information.

The same event twice is offered twice:

Saturday, Nov. 3, Garber Methodist Church, 4201 Country Club Road, Trent Woods.

Morning Session 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Check-in and seating beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Afternoon Session 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Check-in and seating beginning at 12:30 p.m.

Seating is Limited – Register via Eventbrite or call 252-474-8288

Homeowners with a mortgage who have damaged homes and/or are displaced from their homes may be eligible for mortgage relief.

● This will not help renters.

● This will not help homeowners who own their home outright.

● The focus is on primary & secondary residences. This will not be a session for owners of

investment properties who need mortgage relief on investment properties.

Homeowners who have had a loss and/or interruption in employment because of the hurricane may be eligible for mortgage relief.

● Employer experienced damage during the hurricane and may be closed for repairs and/or closed permanently.

● Agricultural loss of crop, harvest and/or livestock from the hurricane.

● Self employed and/or work from home and unable to work because of home damage.

Who do you know that needs mortgage relief?

● Up to one year with no mortgage payments

● No late fees

● No delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus

● The ability to negotiate how to catch up on payments without making a balloon payment.

Types of available assistance:

Moratorium​​: legal authorization to delay payment of money due or to suspend an activity.

This workout option is typically used for disaster.

Repayment​​: the most common relief is a repayment plan. This is a written agreement that allows the homeowner to bring the loan current within a given period of time by making scheduled payments toward the delinquent amount in addition to regular monthly payments.

Forbearance​​: the mortgage servicer, insurer and investor agree to delay foreclosure or other legal action in return for the homeowner’s promise to pay the debt by a specific date.

Modification​​: written agreement permanently changing one or more of the original terms of the mortgage note: type, rate, term or capitalize delinquency.

Julia Iden, Guest Speaker

Julia Iden is the founding partner of Advance Mortgage Education Incorporated.

She started working in the mortgage industry in 1987. Her career has mainly revolved around defaulted mortgages and helping limit the losses caused by default. She held positions as a claims auditor, loss mitigation negotiator, and corporate default manager for GE Mortgage Insurance Company. Prior to starting Advance Mortgage Education, Iden worked as the loss mitigation consultant for Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, one of the largest mortgage investors in the country. She spent three years on-site in Washington Mutual’s loss mitigation department managing the Freddie Mac delinquent portfolio.

Posted in Housing, Hurricane, New Bern

October 9th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Despite earlier obstacles, a storm-stricken New Bern Housing Authority appears headed toward buying acreage off of Carolina Avenue to build apartments that would replace flood-prone tenements at Trent Court.

City Manager Mark Stephens and his staff are preparing paperwork to sell 8 acres between the Pembroke community and Trent Road, and U.S. 70 and Carolina Avenue. A decision is expected at the next Board of Aldermen meeting later this month.

Kathy Adolph

During the public comments portion of the meeting, New Bern resident Kathy Adolph, a retired teacher and school principal, urged the city to give the Housing Authority the parcel, saying that Trent Court is substandard and prone to frequent flooding.

The Housing Authority, which is independent of the city, wants to build an 80-unit apartment complex off Carolina Avenue that would house some Trent Court residents. That would empty out 80 units in Trent Court that would be razed and replaced.

The Housing Authority had offered $200,000 for the 8-acre parcel. Aldermen voted 6-1 in July to have the parcel appraised.

The Carolina Avenue property sought for purchase by the New Bern Housing Authority is shown boxed in yellow. The Pembroke Community is above and to the right of the lake shown in this aerial view.

The motion was made by Ward 6 Alderman Jeffrey Odham and seconded by Ward 3 Alderman Bobby Aster. What’s interesting was that it was a break from tradition. Motions are usually made by the alderman in whose ward a project is located.

But Ward 2 Alderwoman Jameesha Harris, whose ward includes the Pembroke community, has opposed the plan.

A lot has happened while the appraisal wound its way through city bureaucracy, namely Hurricane Florence.

Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney gave a bleak report about Trent Court during Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.

Blaney said Trent Court lost 108 out of 218 apartments due to the storm. He said five or six of the most severely damaged buildings should not be reopened. The storm also destroyed the New Bern Housing Authority administration building on South Front Street.

Housing Authority Board of Commissioners Chairman Joseph Anderson, left, and Executive Director Martin Blaney update the New Bern Board of Aldermen about Trent Court flooding. Photo by Randy Foster / New Bern Post

New Bern Towers, located near Trent Court and also owned by the Housing Authority, weathered the hurricane fairly well and will not be replaced.

In order to qualify for competitive funding to help pay for the apartment complex, the Housing Authority has to beat a January deadline to have a fully fleshed-out plan in place.

The ultimate plan is to remove most or all of the old Trent Court tenements and replace them with a combination of green space and mixed-income housing that is less susceptible to flood damage. That housing would be managed by a third party, much like Craven Terrace has been operating for a couple of years.

Most residents of the flood-damaged Trent Court apartment buildings have found temporary housing or have moved to Housing Authority facilities in nearby counties, Blaney said. A couple of Trent Court families are staying at the emergency shelter at West New Bern Recreation Center, while a handful have moved back into Trent Court, despite warnings that doing so puts their health at risk.

Meanwhile, in an effort to address housing shortages in flood-stricken communities like New Bern, FEMA has announced plans to roll out temporary housing for those most in need.

 

 

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, FEMA, Housing, Mayor, New Bern Housing Authority

October 9th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Approved counties: Currently nine North Carolina counties are approved for Direct Housing: Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Duplin, Jones, Onslow, Pender and Robeson.

FEMA understands that rental resources and housing are limited in some areas. FEMA is working closely with the State of North Carolina to implement a targeted strategy to provide other forms of temporary housing to best meet the needs of displaced survivors.

FEMA has been participating in the state-led housing task force since Hurricane Florence first made landfall in North Carolina.

The state and FEMA are implementing a multi-pronged approach to temporarily house displaced survivors. Solutions are tailored to the individual needs and situations of survivors based on how quickly their homes can be repaired to a safe, sanitary, secure condition and the availability of housing options in their communities.

Based upon the needs identified by the State of North Carolina, FEMA is providing two forms of Direct Temporary Housing Assistance. The following Transportable Temporary Housing Units are available:

  • Recreation Vehicles (RVs) provide a timely, effective interim solution for most households with a high degree of confidence that repairs can be completed in less than a year, ideally within six months.
  • Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs) provide a longer-term solution for survivors whose repairs will take longer to complete due to higher degree of damage.

FEMA contacts households who potentially qualify for an RV or MHU through the Pre-Placement Interview process to determine whether they need Direct Housing and, if so, what type of housing they require based on the size and needs of the household, including any people with disabilities or other access or functional needs.

FEMA will identify households that may be able to have an RV or MHU placed on their property or in a commercial park.

Direct housing solutions FEMA implements are temporary in nature and are not permanent dwellings.

During a housing mission, federal contractors are managed and monitored by FEMA inspectors. Contractors must adhere to all applicable laws, codes and requirements.

Continuous coordination among FEMA, the state, counties and municipalities regarding the installation of transportable temporary housing units is a vital part of this mission.

The state and FEMA are coordinating with municipalities and counties regarding the requirements of local ordinances, zoning, transportation requirements, occupancy inspections, setbacks and more.

The state and FEMA are also coordinating the temporary housing effort with floodplain managers, environmental regulators, historic preservation officers, utility providers and other authorities identified by the state or municipalities.

The State of North Carolina and FEMA will be implementing additional programs in the coming days and weeks.

Survivors displaced from their homes due to Hurricane Florence must first apply for disaster assistance to be considered for FEMA programs such as Transitional Sheltering Assistance, financial rental assistance, grants for repairs to make their homes safe, sanitary and secure, and other forms of assistance.

Survivors can apply online at DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621- 3362 (voice, 711 or VRS) or 800-462-7585 (TTY). In-person American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters are available by request by calling or texting 202-655-8824. (If possible, please allow 24 hours to schedule an interpreter).

Posted in FEMA, Housing, Hurricane, Infrastructure, New Bern

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Tune in to Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting, when officials with the New Bern Housing Authority will give an update about the status of Trent Court.

Trent Court was hit hard by Hurricane Florence. Alderwoman Jameesha Harris and several other volunteers braved rising floodwaters to evacuate residents who had sheltered in their homes during the storm.

Several feet of water flooded the rows of apartments closest to Lawson Creek, and recovery has been a question, especially considering what has been said in the past about Trent Court’s future.

The Choice Neighborhood Initiative (CNI) plan calls for Trent Court to be razed and replaced with mixed-income housing and green space.

The New Bern Housing Authority has been shopping for acreage to build a new apartment building that would be used to house displaced Trent Court residents during the transition, and Housing Authority officials said the displaced residents would have the opportunity to move back once newly constructed units become available in the future development formerly known as Trent Court.

However, the Housing Authority has been having difficulty finding suitable land for an offsite apartment complex. One location off Carolina Avenue (which is between Trent Road and the Pembroke community) is attractive — located close to shopping and services and is owned by the city — but Alderwoman Harris has raised objections from Pembroke residents who don’t want Trent Court residents to move into their back yard.

Meanwhile, many Trent Court residents don’t want to leave Trent Court.

Next up, however, is Hurricane Florence. Housing Authority officials have said for several years that no more money would be spent to renovate flood-damaged buildings at Trent Court. If that’s the same story now, the race is on to find affected Trent Court residents places to live so that the storm-damaged apartments can be torn down.

Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Blaney did not answer a request to be interviewed by the Post. Granted, he has had a lot on his plate.

Steve Strickland, a member of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, said, “The exact outcome is still to be determined. We’re working every possible option right now, alongside our efforts to get the current places as habitable as possible as soon as possible for those with no other short-term options.”

When asked if the storm was an opportunity to kickstart the CNI plan by housing South Front Street / Walt Bellamy Drive residents elsewhere so that the buildings most damaged can be razed and replaced, Strickland replied, “Possibly.”

 

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, FEMA, Housing, Hurricane, Mayor, New Bern Housing Authority

October 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

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.

More

Posted in Economy, Economy and Employment, Environment, FEMA, Health, Housing, Hurricane, Infrastructure, Longleaf Politics, State news, State politics, Weather

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