WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Several families in the Cape Fear are finally getting to spend Christmas at home after being displaced by Hurricane Florence 15 months ago.
On Thursday, Governor Roy Cooper was acting as a delivery man to help people at Market North Apartments in Wilmington.
One woman says it felt like Christmas morning. For the first time in more than a year, she and her four kids will be sleeping in beds they can call their own tonight.
Sarah Evans didn’t know if she would ever step foot back in her apartment.
“We didn’t know anything,” Evans said. “We didn’t know if we were going to be able to come back here.”
Florence destroyed almost everything Evans and her four kids owned and forced them out of their home for more than a year.
“Everything that we had got wet,” she said. “Everything, literally. “We stayed in a motel for over seven months, and then we went to Leland and stayed in a FEMA trailer.”
They lived in the trailer up until just two weeks ago, when Evans and her kids moved back into their fully renovated apartment. Now, she’s getting an early Christmas gift.
“It’s so exciting,” she said. “It’s overwhelming really.”
Evans got new furniture for her entire apartment. Cooper and The Green Chair Project delivered furniture to several families here.
“It’s important that we had a new buyer of this complex that was willing to keep it with affordable housing and be able to do this over a number of years,” Cooper said.
The delivery was also made possible by a $150,000 grant from the Red Cross.
Cooper says it was important to get these families back into the same homes. He says this is a great example of rebuilding stronger.
“We have to make sure we rebuild in a smarter and stronger way,” he said. “One of the things they’ve done here with these parking lots is make it so water won’t get into these apartments so easily, so I think that’s a positive step.”
For Evans, it’s a day she never thought would come. She says it’s even better than before.
“It didn’t look like this, but they look so much nicer now,” she said.
There are still lots of families without homes, but Cooper says there is still around half a billion dollars in funding to come. But he says today is a step in the right direction.