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STEP Program Completes Repairs to More Than 2,100 Damaged Homes

Florence survivors can return home from temporary housing thanks to repairs

RALEIGH: The Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program is concluding this week after completing partial repairs to the homes of 2,183 Hurricane Florence survivors in 12 counties. Contractors and volunteer groups made emergency repairs to those homes, making them safe, sanitary and habitable, so that families that had been living in hotels or travel trailers can move back home.

“More than 2,100 families affected by Hurricane Florence are back in their homes and able to move forward with their recovery thanks to this program and the great work by volunteers and contractors,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “There is more work to be done for families and communities devastated by the storm, and we are continuing to work hard to help more people find permanent housing after Florence.”

STEP program repairs began in December with work crews from Baptists on Mission and the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. In February, they were joined by 13 general contractors with more than 250 work crews who made repairs to homes in Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties.

As the STEP program comes to an end, other efforts continue to repair and rebuild damaged homes and address the need for housing.

“Our efforts to help people and communities recover from the devastation of Hurricane Florence are ongoing, and as the STEP program wraps up, other programs will keep working to help homeowners with more extensive damage,” said NC Emergency Management director Mike Sprayberry.

North Carolinians hit hard by Florence who are still struggling to find a housing solution are urged to participate in the Disaster Case Management Program. The state has contracted with experienced case managers who will work in conjunction with faith-based and volunteer organizations to help meet survivors’ needs.

To connect with a disaster case manager, Florence survivors can email: DCMNC@Endeavors.org or call one of the two regional offices:

*Residents of Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Chatham, Columbus, Cumberland, Durham, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, New Hanover, Orange, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland and Union counties should call the Fayetteville office at (910) 672-6175.
*Residents of Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Wayne, and Wilson counties should call the Jacksonville office at (910) 378-4913.

Volunteer organizations are continuing to repair North Carolina families’ homes in many hard-hit communities.

Other programs to help homeowners are getting underway or still awaiting federal funding. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation program (HMGP) for Hurricane Florence is beginning, which will help eligible homeowners and local governments elevate, reconstruct or buyout flooded properties to build more resilient communities.

North Carolina is waiting for word from Washington on another major program that will help with housing recovery from Hurricane Florence, the Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In October 2018, Congress passed legislation appropriating CDBG-DR funds for Florence and several other natural disasters, but North Carolina does not yet know what share it will receive of the funds or the rules for using that funding to help with long-term rebuilding.

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