RALEIGH: North Carolina homeowners who want to participate in a special program that provides rapid repairs to homes damaged by Hurricane Florence must take action by Sunday, February 10, 2019 at 11:59 pm, Governor Roy Cooper urged today. Feb. 10 is the final deadline and will not be extended again.
North Carolina’s Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program provides rapid, partial repairs to make homes livable. The STEP program does not return a home to its pre-storm condition but makes it possible for storm survivors to leave temporary housing and live at home while permanent repairs continue. To participate, eligible homeowners must complete the required Right of Entry (ROE) form by the Feb. 10 deadline.
“Hurricane Florence dealt a serious blow to our state, and getting families back in their homes is key to helping entire communities recover more quickly,” said Gov. Roy Cooper. “Our innovative STEP program helps survivors return home while they move forward with rebuiliding their lives.”
The program is available to eligible homeowners in Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties.
To date, more than 100 homes have been repaired or are under repair through the STEP program, and work is ready to begin on many more homes. More than 3,500 homeowners have returned their ROE forms to indicate their wish to participate in STEP.
To participate in the STEP program, eligible homeowners must sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form by February 10, 2019 by 11:59pm.
At Governor Cooper’s request, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) previously extended the deadline for ROE forms but FEMA has said the deadline will not be extended again.
More information about the STEP program is available at www.ncdps.gov/florencestep. Eligible homeowners may also visit the application portal at www.ncstepflorence.com or call 833-257-1100 Monday – Saturday 10am- 8pm.
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.
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.
Eligible North Carolina storm survivors have received telephone calls, text messages and postcards to encourage them to apply to participate in the STEP program. Eligible homeowners were selected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) based on data gathered from storm survivors who registered with FEMA.
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.
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.