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North Carolina set to receive only $6 million of $900 million requested in federal aid

Lumberton flooding (WPDE file image)

After requesting nearly $900 million in federal aid following Hurricane Matthew, state leaders say North Carolina has only been awarded $6.1 million.

The governor says he isn't happy with the level of help the state is expected to see, at least as of yet.

Lumberton was one of the hardest hit areas in the state when the hurricane came through.

As of May 2017, the city has about six businesses that are still shut down.

Now, seven months after the disaster, 65 families from the area are still living in motel rooms.

One of those people is Billy Lindsey. He and seven members of his family are still in motels.

He said the hurricane left him feeling lost.

"It hurts you don't have nothing and, I mean, you ain't got nowhere to go," he said.

Lindsey said he doesn't think the level of aid the state is set to receive is nearly enough to help everyone who was hurt by the hurricane.

"I don't think it's going to help none from what damage I still see," he said.

Lindsey said he was living in Lumberton public housing before the storm. Those homes alone saw $8 million in damages.

"It's not fixed. They said it could be six more months to a year before they get ours ready," he said.

Local government facilities saw more than $9 million in damages, and that estimate doesn't even include damages to the school district.

Wayne Horne, the Lumberton City Manager, said the state needs more federal aid.

"New money coming from the federal government would help fund housing and probably help fund Golden Leaf to continue to work with these communities [...] but now that $6 million won't--very thin, it won't go very far," Horne said.

He said, not only is the city faced with repairing and restoring the area, but they also need to put precautionary systems in place to protect the area in the event of another disaster.

The city is currently considering putting flood gates in after stormwaters came through a levy near VFW Road. But, that effort would cost another $5 million to $6 million.

" I think there's a chance that, in the future, we could be looking at another weather event if we don't find a way to address these problems," Horne said.

Congressman Robert Pittenger, who re[resents Robeson County, says there's a chance the state could get more federal aid.

His office released the following statement via email:

At the end of 2016, Congressman Pittenger worked with House Leadership and the NC delegation to secure over $300 million for initial disaster relief funding. As the state and North Carolinians continue their efforts to rebuild after Hurricane Matthew, $6 million more in funding through HUD was made available in last week’s Omnibus. There will also be over $200 million of HUD funding still available for FY17 and Congressman Pittenger will be working closely with House Appropriations to ensure HUD has a full understanding of the continuing need for support in North Carolina to help secure portions of this additional funding.
Additionally, the Omnibus fully funded FEMA at $7.3 billion to ensure North Carolina needs through FEMA funding can be met.
To date, we understand nearly $200 million of HUD funding for NC is going through the final process to be released and disbursed by the state to those in need. Congressman Pittenger will work closely with House Appropriations, Senator Tillis, and the NC Delegation to secure additional funding for unmet needs from the available over $200 million of FY17 funding, and future FY18 funding.
Please let us know if there are any questions we can answer, or any assistance we can offer. Thank you.

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