More than 60 Orange County families are still waiting for relief after this summer’s flooding damaged their homes.
Following the June 30 floods, Gov. Pat McCrory requested a state disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration, which gave victims federal funds to assist in recovery. Those who did not qualify for SBA loans could apply for aid from the state.
“It will give homeowners and renters loans in emergency situations,” explained Julia Jarema, spokeswoman for the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management.
Eighty-four families applied for state aid, but the state has approved 20 applications so far, according to the Orange County Department of Social Services.
In an email to the Carrboro Board of Aldermen, Town Manager David Andrews said the state has been reluctant to provide aid to landlords who were providing low-quality housing for renter-occupied units before the flood.
“The state will only pay cash value, approximately $950, to owners, which, in many cases, is far less than the cost of the repairs,” Andrews said in the email.
Though state aid is coming slowly, local organizations are working to help people find temporary solutions.
Immediately following the flood, the Triangle chapter of the American Red Cross and Social Services was able to provide shelter and necessities for flood victims.
“We were working closely with Orange County DSS, particularly in locating and securing long-term housing for these people,” said Lu Esposito, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross.
“Before the Red Cross really cuts someone loose, we will help them get into a new place to live.”
Esposito said several local charities stepped up to furnish the flood victims’ homes.
“They allowed those people to furnish their entire homes for just a fraction of what it would have cost them with an open market or even Salvation Army,” Esposito said.
Esposito said the Red Cross is close to finishing its work with Orange County flood victims.
Immediately following the flood, the Red Cross and DSS opened up a shelter at Smith Middle School to address the most immediate needs.
“In the first 72 hours, that’s what we were focused on — opening and keeping the shelter open for anyone who didn’t have a place to stay and needed somewhere safe to stay,” she said.
“We had about 40 clients in the shelter.”
By the time the shelter closed on July 4, many had returned to their homes or found a place to stay with friends or family. The towns and state provided hotels for those that still needed shelter.
“We were going out into the neighborhoods and making sure people who had not come to the shelter also had access to get repairs done, clothing they had lost replaced, food they had lost replaced and made sure they had something to eat,” Esposito said.
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