Congressional leaders weigh in on Hurricane Florence recovery

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LELAND, NC (WWAY) — North Carolina Congressman David Rouzer brought leaders on the local and national level together Thursday morning at Leland Town Hall. Rouzer was joined by representatives from FEMA and HUD, plus Congressman Steve Scalise, Majority Whip.

Leaders from five major counties that were hit by Hurricane Florence came out the the roundtable. Congressman David Rouzer wanted to give these leaders the chance to express the needs and questions each of their counties want answered.

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“You’re tough people. And this is a tough time right now. But it’s going to get better. And you’re going to get through it,” said Scalise.

Those were a few words Scalise had for county leaders. From public health concerns to a housing crisis, representatives were there to answer questions from local leaders.

“Don’t assume that because when you appliedt he first time and that you were denied, that it’s going to be the same result. Because the fact of the matter is that in many of those cases, where they now have been evicted or found out that they can’t go back, that’s a different scenario that FEMA was not aware of the first time around,” said Rouzer.

Rouzer said every scenario is different, but that no person should go unserved. It was a message echoed by Scalise, a Louisiana representative who went through the recovery process after Hurricane Katrina.

“Do the best you can to keep the money here in the community, because the local governments need to rebuild too. They’ve lost their tax base for a period of time. The thing you want to do is get people back in as quickly as possible and rebuild, and keep the money in the community,” said Scalise.

Officials say the process can be confusing, which is why they hope this meeting helped.

“Our primary role is to make sure the state and local entities have the resources they need. And they’re going to have the resources they need. In fact, you just heard the representative from FEMA say, ‘I’m one of the few resources up here where money is not an issue.’ But you’ve got to file the paperwork,” said Rouzer.

Rouzer and Scalise say they brought leaders together to make sure the lines of communication stayed open. They both say that this is not an overnight process, but they are working to get more federal bills to serve everyone here.