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State Awards Mitigation Grants to Get Matthew Survivors Into More Resilient Homes

Raleigh – NC Emergency Management this week notified four communities that they soon would receive $2.2 million in federal and state funds to acquire, elevate or reconstruct homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew. The initial award funds the first five projects using Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) grants.

“We know homeowners and communities have been waiting patiently for this money and are eager to move into more flood-resilient homes,” said state Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry.

This first award of HMGP funds will help 15 homeowners across the city of Fayetteville and Camden, Moore and Nash counties move into more resilient homes. Eight of the properties will be acquired so the homeowner can find alternative housing outside of the floodplain, while three properties will be elevated and four will be reconstructed.

This week’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program award includes:

Camden County – $912,910

Moore County – $152,854

Nash County – $516,912

City of Fayetteville – $690,788

The federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program uses a combination of federal and state funds to elevate, reconstruct or buy-out qualified homeowners whose home is at risk of repeated damage from flooding.  Following major disasters, a percentage of total federal recovery funds is designated to develop more resilient communities using one of the approved methods.  In 2014, North Carolina earned Enhanced Hazard Mitigation status based on its thorough plan and program history, thus increasing the designated federal funding portion from 15 to 20 percent. That enhanced status translated into an additional $25 million following Hurricane Matthew, enabling the state to help another 210 homeowners.

This program has proven its value repeatedly. “More than 4,000 North Carolina properties were mitigated over the past 20 years,” Sprayberry noted. “That translates into $118 million in losses avoided after Matthew.”

More than 3,000 homeowners applied for the HMGP funding in the months after Matthew; ten times the typical number.

“Our state and local emergency managers worked together tirelessly to process and evaluate each application in record time to expedite the funding process as much as possible,” said Resiliency Chief Nick Burk.  As comparison, it took staff 18 months to evaluate 300 applications after Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Now that FEMA has approved the first set of projects, the state can enter into the required project agreements with the receiving counties and city and discuss program requirements. It is then up to each jurisdiction to select contractors and begin the actual construction work. The city or county will distribute the mitigation funds to the homeowner and will then be reimbursed by NCEM.

NC Emergency Management submitted to FEMA 65 different project applications representing nearly 800 different properties. Following federal guidelines, separate applications were written for each different type of mitigation project within each jurisdiction.  NCEM supported local governments by writing each grant application on their behalf. 

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