The North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency has awarded $47.3 million in grants and zero-interest loans to help communities recover after multiple hurricanes, while also building resiliency to reduce damage during future storms. Since the launch of the NCORR program last year, 41 local and tribal governments have received a total of 63 grants and loans to help with operating costs and recovery expenses. The state-funded program offers a financial lifeline to communities facing challenges due to major hurricane damage.
“Our communities are committed to rebuilding smarter and stronger and these funds will help foster new partnerships and make North Carolina more resilient against future storms,” said Governor Roy Cooper.
Funds awarded by the NCORR program are helping North Carolina communities pay for local infrastructure projects such as upgrades to the Town of Robbins wastewater treatment system, which was damaged when Hurricane Florence hit. In Robeson County, a $2 million zero-interest loan awarded to the Lumbee Tribe is funding a dam construction project that will help manage flooding during future storms, while providing many other benefits to the community. Funds awarded by NCORR are also being used for projects such as reconstruction of Princeville’s town hall and senior center, which were both flooded by Hurricane Matthew.
“Hurricanes damage not only individual homes, but also buildings and infrastructure that are critical for community stability and welfare,” said NCORR Chief Operating Officer Laura Hogshead. “Our office is committed to building local government partnerships that will support long-term disaster recovery throughout the state.”
Grants of up to $1 million are currently available to local and tribal governments as short-term assistance to pay for certain everyday operating expenses or to provide additional support for disaster recovery. Information on the grant application process is available on NCORR’s ReBuild.NC.gov website. The 2020 loan application period has now closed, but another application period will be announced in the coming months.
“The grant has been a financial lifesaver for our town,” said Pollocksville Mayor James V. Bender Jr. The town is using the funds to reduce debt service, retain the services of a full-time employee to help with disaster mitigation and resiliency, and to cover additional accounting expenses and financial services.
In late 2018, Governor Cooper established NCORR in the Department of Public Safety at a time when much of North Carolina had experienced two devastating hurricanes in the span of only two years. The office administers nearly $1 billion in HUD disaster recovery and mitigation funding, as well as state disaster recovery funds. In addition to local government grants and loans, NCORR manages programs statewide that include homeowner recovery, infrastructure, affordable housing, resiliency and strategic buyout.