Millions of dollars in federal hurricane relief funds will soon be available for North Carolinians, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said the funds for mitigation will be released in two phases for states and territories impacted by recent storms. North Carolina will receive $168 million, according to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-NC. Gov. Roy Cooper has voiced concerns about the administration's slow process.
Tillis and U.S. Senator Richard Burr, R-NC, said they successfully pushed for the relief funds to be secured in June under the Supplemental Appropriations Act, which locks in $19 billion for natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires and flooding. The act reserves funds for recovery efforts from Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Matthew. The $168 million, which was awarded to North Carolina in spring 2018 from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery for Matthew, was to be released 90 days after the legislation was passed. Both Florence and Matthew caused billions of dollars in damage to the state.
“Although relief after a natural disaster can never come soon enough, North Carolinians will now have additional resources that we fought hard to secure so that our state can rebuild more resiliently,” Tillis said.
During a July trip to the White House, Cooper questioned officials about the mitigation funds. Cooper told The Raleigh News and Observer that he pressured HUD to publish a Federal Register, which would green-light the funds and provide guidance to the state on how the money can be used.
Hurricane Matthew ravished North Carolina in October 2016. The state has spent more than $1.14 billion to date to help impacted communities, according to Cooper’s office.
Hurricane Florence made landfall in September 2018. North Carolina has spent $1.58 billion to date on recovery. HUD announced in May that it would be releasing $336.5 million in DBG-DR funds for Florence. A Federal Register has yet to be published for the $336.5 million, according to the governor’s office.
The Supplemental Appropriations Act also includes: $381 million to repair damages to Marine Corps installations, including Camp Lejeune; $1 billion for the Flood Control and Coastal Emergencies account; $600 million for the planning and construction of projects to replace facilities damaged by Hurricanes Florence and Michael; and $3 billion for farm disaster assistance to cover producers’ losses stemming from the 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.