LUMBERTON — Some questions remain unanswered for now, but what’s not in question is the window for applying for millions of dollars in grant money to help Robeson County residents repair Hurricane Matthew-damaged homes is about to open.
An application center will open on Thursday at the Robeson County Department of Social Services Building at 120 Glenn Cowan Road in Lumberton. The center’s hours will be Mondays to Fridays from 8:15 a.m to 5:15 p.m. It will be closed Dec. 22 to Jan. 2.
There is $46 million in Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery Grant money. The county Board of Commissioners approved on Monday an agreement with the state government that sets in motion the application process, which will be overseen by the state, and the eventual distribution of the money, which will be overseen by Robeson County Administration. The money is available to home owners and to renters.
What is not known is how many people in Robeson County the grant money will benefit.
“It is for the entire county, so we do not have an exact number,” said Emily Jones, county Public Information officer.
Between 1,500 and 2,000 Robeson County residents were displaced and about 2,000 homes were damaged or flooded by Hurricane Matthew and the floodwaters the storm generated when it struck in October 2016. The Federal Emergency Management Agency received 18,546 assistance applications in Robeson County.
When applicants will know if they have been approved for a share of the $46 million is not known, Jones said. Nor has county government leaders been told the length of time between approval and receipt of money.
The agreement’s effective date is Friday, and it expires Dec. 1, 2023. The final reimbursement date set in the agreement is Aug. 7, 2023.
The first step in getting aid is setting up an appointment. Interested county residents can schedule an appointment by calling 910-550-1156. Applicants are urged to call as soon as possible. Go to www.rebuild.nc.gov/apply to get more information and to check on the status of an application appointment.
Once an appointment at the application center is scheduled, applicants need to bring to the appointment as many as possible of the following items: photo identification (driver license, passport, or state ID); proof of legal residency (Social Security Card, green card or visa); proof of ownership, if applying as a homeowner; proof that the applicant is current on payments if there is a mortgage on the home (a letter from the mortgage lender or confirmation of recent payment); proof of valid lease, if applying as a renter; proof of occupancy at the residence at the time of the disaster (such as a utility bill from the month of the disaster in the applicant’s name); a copy of the most recent 1040 tax return for all adults (18 or over) in the household, or three months of consecutive pay stubs for all adults; copies of insurance payments received for any Hurricane Matthew-related damage to the home; copies of other assistance received from FEMA, Small Business Association, or other federal, state, or local disaster entities including charities; and if repairs have been completed on the damaged property, photos and receipts that verify work completed.
Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at [email protected]