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By Erin Smith

A ReBuild NC Hurricane Matthew application center has opened in Bladen County, at the Bladen County Training Center at White Lake. The application center is located at 5853 US 701 Highway North, Elizabethtown, NC.

On Tuesday morning, Kimberly Robertson, the Community Development Specialist with the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Emergency Management; Hazard Mitigation Specialist Kimberly Talbert; and Bladen County Emergency Management Director Bradley Kinlaw were going over the program and making final preparations for residents to begin their application process.

Kinlaw said anyone who suffered damage due to Hurricane Matthew is eligible to apply.  The ReBuild NC application center, located in the former chapel of the Bladen County Training Center, is taking applications for the CDBG-DR program. The program funds a broad range of disaster recovery activities such as disaster relief, long-term recovery, restoration of infrastructure, housing, and economic revitalization.

The application center’s hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

“Even if they have already applied (for other forms of aid) or if they have never applied for assistance, they can still apply to this program,” said Kinlaw.

Robertson added, “This program may be the last opportunity they will have (to receive disaster recovery funds).”

The program is open to both homeowners and landlords. To begin the process, residents need to call 2-1-1 to schedule an appointment and to allow at least two hours for the first meeting. Follow up appointments may be scheduled as needed. Kinlaw said residents need to let the operator know, when they call, they reside in Bladen County. The application covers the time period from October 2016 to October 2017.

Walk-ins at the application center will be accepted; however they may be subject to waiting.

Some items which will be needed for the application include: proof of primary residency at the time of the disaster on October 8, 2016, proof of ownership, proof of identity, citizenship or qualified status, and proof of household income. Applicants must also provide documentation of funding received such as federal flood insurance, Small Business Administration loans or denial letters, homeowner’s insurance, and declare any funds received from organizations such as faith-based organizations, the American Red Cross or other local organizations and non-profit groups.

Anyone who has already made repairs to their home is still encouraged to apply as they may be eligible to receive reimbursement for those repairs.

“Every situation is different,” said Robertson.

If someone has already begun the application process with another ReBuild NC application center, they can bring their information and application materials with them to the Bladen County site. Kinlaw said applications for Bladen County residents that have been started at other sites are in the process of being transferred to the Bladen County application center, as well.

Residents in neighboring counties are also welcome at the Bladen County application center.  They will also be assisted in getting their application process started.

Once the application has been entered into the system, the attendant will note the applicant’s eligibility and guide them through the next steps in the process.

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