LUMBERTON — More than $11 million in Hurricane Matthew relief money is on its way to Robeson County.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide the money to buy out, elevate, or replace 119 flood-ravaged homes in Robeson County, U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, a Republican who represents the 9th District, announced Friday.
A $4,507,487 grant will be used to purchase and demolish 47 residential structures in Lumberton that were flooded during Hurricane Matthew, according to information from Pittenger. The deeds will be transferred to the city of Lumberton to be used as open space.
A $1,831,867 grant will be used to elevate 20 residential structures in Lumberton to prevent damage from future floods. A $3,307,963 grant will be used to replace and elevate 34 residential structures in Lumberton that were destroyed when the hurricane roared through the county in October 2016.
And a grant of $1,800,821 grant will be used to buy and demolish 18 residential structures in Robeson County that were damaged by floodwaters generated by Hurricane Matthew, according to Pittenger. The deeds will be transferred to Robeson County to be used as open space.
Each grant will provide funding for 75 percent of the total project cost, which is standard for FEMA disaster recovery grants.
“This is a good day for Lumberton,” Pittenger said in a statement. “These grants will allow families to move on from the incredible destruction of Hurricane Matthew. As I enter my final months in office, my priority remains helping Robeson, Cumberland, and Bladen recover from Hurricane Matthew, and I will continue to push for additional funding.”
Pittenger lost in the May primary to Mark Harris.
Money from FEMA goes to the state first, said Jamie Bowers, a Pittenger spokesman. The money would be funneled through the North Carolina Department of Emergency Management.
“The money has now been made available,” Bowers said. “As the process goes, it’s up to the state to get a move on.”
The state Department of Emergency Management was the target of harsh criticism in April after it was reported in March that hundreds of millions of dollars in federal disaster recovery money was not getting to the people who needed it.
According to published reports, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development issued a report in late March stating that the North Carolina government has not spent any of the $236 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds received this past fall. The money is intended to help recovery efforts from Hurricane Matthew.
The governor’s office sent out information on April 16 that relief funds were to be released in May. This money was part of the ReBuild NC program and made possible by North Carolina’s allocation of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funds from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Nearly 98,000 homes and 19,500 businesses were damaged by Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina, according to Pittenger. The congressman has helped secure more than $1.4 billion in federal funding for recovery efforts.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.