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Act Now to Participate in Hurricane Florence Home Repairs Through the STEP Program, Gov. Cooper Urges

RALEIGH: North Carolinians must act now to participate in a special program to provide rapid repairs to homes damaged by Hurricane Florence, Governor Roy Cooper urged today.

Eligible homeowners have until Friday, February 1, 2019 to complete a Right of Entry Form (ROE) to participate in North Carolina’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program. The program provides partial repairs at no cost to homeowners so Hurricane Florence survivors can return to and remain in their homes while longer-term repairs continue.

“People want to be able to live in their own homes while they rebuild their lives from Hurricane Florence and the STEP program offers a way to do that,” said Gov. Cooper. “I urge eligible homeowners to sign up to participate in this innovative program today.”

The deadline was extended to Feb. 1 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at Governor Cooper’s request. North Carolina has asked FEMA for another extension but eligible homeowners should not wait to apply, the governor urged.

About the STEP Program

The STEP program provides rapid, partial repairs to homes damaged by Hurricane Florence to make them livable so that survivors can leave temporary housing and return home. The STEP program does not return a home to its pre-storm condition, but it does make it possible for families to live safely at home while long-term repairs take place.

The program is available in Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties.

To participate in the STEP program, eligible homeowners must sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form by February 1, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

So far, 116 homes have been repaired or are under repair through the STEP program, and work is set to begin soon on hundreds more homes. More than 2,500 homeowners have completed ROE forms and are under consideration for the program.

More information about the STEP program is available at Eligible homeowners may also visit the application portal at or call (833) 257-1100 Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

STEP program representatives are available through Friday this week from 8 5 p.m. in three state disaster recovery centers to assist potential participants with questions, verify eligibility and assist in filling out ROE forms:

*Brunswick County – 3325 Old Ocean Highway, Building C, Bolivia
*Craven County – 2825 Neuse Blvd., New Bern
*New Hanover County – Old Independence Mall, 3500 Oleander Dr., Wilmington
*Robeson County – Department of Social Services, 120 Glen Cowan Rd., Lumberton

How the STEP Program Works

Potentially eligible storm survivors have been contacted by telephone, text message and postcard to encourage them to participate in the STEP program. Homeowners were selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on data gathered from survivors who registered with FEMA.

Once a homeowner completes the Right of Entry form, an inspector will visit the home to assess the damage. For homes confirmed eligible for STEP, the inspector will develop a repair plan. Depending on the level of damage, the repairs will be made by either a volunteer disaster relief group (NC Baptists on Mission or United Methodist Committee on Relief) or a professional contractor managed by the state.

Depending on the amount of damage done to the home, repairs may be completed by professional contractors or by volunteer groups including Baptists on Mission and the United Methodist Committee on Relief.

Among the kinds of repairs made through the STEP program:

*Exterior repairs include secure and watertight doors, windows and roof, and safe entrances.
*The home’s electrical and plumbing systems will be made safe and operational.
Interior repairs include a functional kitchen – including a base cabinet under the sink, a surface to prepare food, basic refrigeration and cooking surfaces, a working sink – and a functional, private bathroom.
*The cost of the STEP program is being shared by the State of North Carolina and FEMA. There is no cost to homeowners to participate in the voluntary STEP program.

For survivors who choose to participate in the STEP program, completion of STEP repairs will end their eligibility for a FEMA travel trailer or mobile home and for Transitional Sheltering Assistance to stay in a hotel.

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