FAIR BLUFF, NC (WWAY) — The town of Fair Bluff will receive $1.85 million to help rebuild homes damaged by Hurricane Matthew and improve the town’s water supply, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.
Fair Bluff will receive $1 million from North Carolina Emergency Management to help address long term housing needs. Fair Bluff will also receive $850,000 from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to relocate one of the town’s main drinking water supply wells out of the floodplain, easing the way for new affordable housing and making the town better able to withstand future floods.
“Hurricane Matthew flooded the heart of Fair Bluff and left homes and businesses in ruins, but step by step the town is moving toward recovery,” said Gov. Cooper, who visited the town earlier this fall. “This funding is critical to helping this historic town rebuild and have a brighter future.”
The funds are part of a coordinated effort across state agencies to address long-term needs of the communities hardest hit by Hurricane Matthew. As part of the cooperative effort, the Golden Leaf Foundation has agreed to contribute an additional $100,000 to complete the drinking well project if needed.
Matthew inundated Fair Bluff, causing heavy damage to the town’s residences, businesses and vital infrastructure. The $1 million from North Carolina Emergency Management will help repair, rebuild and elevate single-family homes, as well as rehabilitate manufactured housing.
“We’re working with Fair Bluff residents and leaders not just to reconstruct their community, but to rebuild homes and infrastructure in a way that they are better prepared for the next disaster,” said Public Safety Secretary Erik Hooks. “Improving the community’s resiliency will help ensure their future.”
Relocating the drinking well, funded through the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016, will protect Fair Bluff’s water supply from future storm damage. In addition, the project will ensure adequate water pressure for new affordable housing planned by the state Housing Finance Agency and the Lumber River Council of Government using Disaster Recovery Act of 2017 funding.
“DEQ is proud to be part of this effort to keep Fair Bluff on the road to recovery,” said DEQ Secretary Michael S. Regan. “It’s a great example of state government agencies using our specific expertise where and how we can to help North Carolinians the most.”
Fair Bluff will soon be getting extra help from a team of volunteers from AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). The volunteers are part of a group who will be joining the Governor’s recovery effort in North Carolina beginning in November to help with ongoing work in storm-damaged communities for six months. Fair Bluff was selected as one of several sites to receive assistance from the volunteers. The team will work with the community to rebuild homes and businesses. Volunteers will also serve in Princeville, Lumberton, Kinston, Seven Springs and Windsor starting later this year.
Additionally, the Town of Fair Bluff is getting $8.3 million to elevate, buy out or move 71 homes to prevent future flooding through the federal Hazard Grant Mitigation Program. Other assistance received by Fair Bluff and its residents to date includes: 177 home loans and 78 business loans from the Small Business Administration; $1.8 million in FEMA Individual Assistance for residents; and nearly $1 million paid in claims from the National Flood Insurance Program. Columbus County is expected to receive more than $2 million to repair public infrastructure.
“While progress is happening, there is much more to be done to help communities recover fully,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “I will continue to fight in Washington and Raleigh for help for families, businesses and towns impacted by Hurricane Matthew.”