The following is a review of housing recovery developments related to Hurricane Florence since last week’s Memo to Members and Partners (for the article in last week’s Memo, see 10/1). NLIHC also posts this information at On the Home Front.
The Senate passed the “Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2018” on October 3 by a vote of 93-6. The bill, which passed in the House last week, included several disaster provisions and $1.68 billion in disaster relief (see Memo, 10/1).
Representative George Holding (R-NC) introduced the “Hurricane Florence Tax Relief Act” (H.R. 6854), which provides several personal tax relief actions for those impacted by the storm.
A New York Times piece details the destruction of homes and the great amount of work that lies ahead for the Carolinas.
FEMA reports that more than 22,000 North Carolina homeowners and renters have received housing assistance of some kind and 14,000 have received financial rental assistance. FEMA has completed almost 72,000 home inspections as part of the process to determine if an applicant is eligible for assistance.
Residents in Greene County, NC, are now also eligible for the Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP). A full list of participating counties and benefits can be found here.
Governor Roy Cooper has released a set of principles for Hurricane Florence recovery that he hopes the North Carolina General Assembly will consider during its special convening to focus on Hurricane Florence recovery. The Governor’s administration is still estimating the cost to enact the following principles: ensuring people’s health, safety, and long-term well-being, including promoting affordable housing and providing wrap-around services; supporting and rebuilding more resilient communities, which includes establishing more affordable housing; supporting public schools; helping people get back to work; and helping state government support recovery.
As a result of the special convening, Governor Cooper signed several bills providing relief after Hurricane Florence. The legislation provides flexibility for schools, protects voter access, and allocates $56.5 million for initial relief and recovery efforts.
Governor Cooper has launched a new program – Back@Home – to help those still in disaster shelters or unsafe, unstable environments to quickly transition to safe and sustainable longer-term housing. The program is for those receiving little or no Individual Assistance through FEMA and provides help finding a home, financial assistance, and other supplies and resources, as needed. The program is a partnership of several state agencies and nonprofits.
The North Carolina Office of the Governor is encouraging renters who face eviction or have been evicted to apply for disaster assistance from FEMA. Staff at recovery centers can help displaced renters find housing solutions.
Local Perspectives & Resources
The state NAACP sent a letter to Governor Cooper and election officials, urging them to ensure those impacted by the storm do not lose access to the polls. Officials seemed to respond by including voter protections in recovery legislation.
Residents of the U.S. Marine base, Camp Lejeune, report unlivable conditions and a lack of responsiveness from the base’s private housing manager.
A local news source reports that as of October 3, 129 people remained in a Cumberland County shelter, which was scheduled to close on October 5. Although residents are eligible for Individual Assistance, Cumberland is not one of the nine counties where residents can apply for Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA).
Hurricane Florence has exposed some of North Carolina’s economic and racial divides. Many of the places impacted by the storm are home to some of the poorest communities in the state as well as sizeable Latinx and Native American communities. An op-ed from the North Carolina Budget and Tax Center advocates for equitable disaster recovery.
Residents in Chesterfield and Darlington are now eligible to apply for Individual Assistance.
The South Carolina Emergency Management Department developed an interactive map of photos of the damage. The imagery comes from NOAA, NASA, and the Civil Air Patrol.
Local Perspectives & Resources
The non-profit group Crisis Cleanup can assist residents with cleaning up their properties following Hurricane Florence and the ensuing floods. Call (843) 212-0552 to register and be connected with local volunteers.