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Governor Roy Cooper announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has designated Bladen and Columbus counties as among the Most Impacted and Distressed areas that were impacted by Hurricane Matthew. The new designations will allow North Carolina to increase recovery spending for both counties through the federal agency’s Community Block Development Grant–Disaster Recovery funding.

Officials with the N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency requested the designations for Bladen and Columbus counties in an April 17 letter to HUD.

“Families in Bladen and Columbus Counties were hit hard in Hurricane Matthew and Florence and we must continue to work to make sure they have the resources they need to recover,” Cooper said. “It’s good news that the federal government has approved our request so we can increase funding in these counties, get more families back in their homes and continue to rebuild communities stronger and smarter.”

Under HUD guidelines, the state must spend at least 80 percent of its CDBG-DR funding in MID counties. Cumberland, Edgecombe, Robeson and Wayne counties were previously given that designation.

Funds provided through the CDBG-DR program can be used for necessary expenses related to disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure and housing, and economic revitalization.