Texts, social media used to contact homeowners rebuilding after Matthew
The Daily Reflector
Wednesday, August 15, 2018
North Carolina Emergency Management is using text messages and social media to reach survivors whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Matthew and who still have not applied for housing recovery assistance.
The text messages and social media posts will inform people how to call 211 to apply for state or federal assistance through the Rebuild NC program.
“We know there are still people out there with homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew who need help and don’t know where to get it,” said Emergency Management Director Mike Sprayberry. “We want to get them the help they need, and we want to make sure that everyone who started the application process finishes it.”
Financial assistance is provided by HUD in the form of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) grants, and it can help storm-impacted homeowners and landlords repair or rebuild damage from Hurricane Matthew.
Funding from the program also can be used to reimburse homeowners who undertook and completed repairs to their home after Matthew.
More than $739 million in recovery funds already are on the ground and an additional $628 million has been allocated or awarded to help families, small businesses and public infrastructure projects. However, some families who are eligible for CDBG-DR grants have not applied or have not finished the grant application process.
The text and social media outreach is in addition to an email campaign that kicked off last week. More than 400 emails so far have been targeted to people affected by Hurricane Matthew and text messages will begin going out this week.
Contact information for the outreach effort was provided by FEMA to help locate homeowners whose property suffered damage during Hurricane Matthew, are likely eligible, and may need additional assistance.
Rebuild NC social media accounts are active on Facebook @ReBuild NC and on Twitter @RebuildNC_gov as yet another way to reach those affected by Hurricane Matthew and to spread the word about how to apply for recovery help.
Hurricane Matthew recovery has accelerated recently with the first rehabilitation project using CDBG-DR funds underway in Robeson County, and additional home repairs are in progress in Sampson County and are beginning in Johnston County with state funding from the Disaster Recovery Act of 2017.
North Carolina is ahead of schedule with grants to help elevate, reconstruct or buyout storm damaged homes in flood-prone areas. More than $81.5 million from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program has been awarded to mitigate future storm damage to 639 properties and $34 million more is expected based on pending applications.
Residents affected by Hurricane Matthew can call 211 to check their application status or make an appointment to complete an application. There are also staff at seven application centers ready to assist with new applications or finishing existing applications.
For additional information on Hurricane Matthew Housing Recovery and the application process, visit rebuild.nc.gov/apply.