Lumberton begins to rebuild communities with $11M from FEMA

LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) – The State of North Carolina reports Hurricane Matthew caused $1.5 billion in damage to 100,000 homes, businesses, and government buildings.

Part of that damage included government housing in Lumberton.

The Housing Authority of the City of Lumberton reports it received $11 million from FEMA, and rebuilding in the city is underway.

Weaver Court is one of five different affordable housing neighborhoods in Lumberton. The housing authority is in phase one of making repairs to the housing in this neighborhood.

In addition to money from FEMA, the housing authority also received roughly $3 million in insurance coverage, which will go toward rebuilding phase two and three of Weaver Court.

Deputy Housing Director for the City of Lumberton Adrian Lowery says more than 250 families within the housing authority umbrella were displaced by the storm’s damage.

“Two-hundred fifty six families, or 35 percent of our housing stock for low income housing, that was affected by Hurricane Matthew,” explains Lowery. “That is very essential in our minds as we begin our process of work to get these units back up as quickly, safely and as efficiently as possible.”

Lowery says contractors will be brought in next week to get work started on phase two of the Weaver Court project.

In total, the $11 million from FEMA will be going to 16 different projects. Pages of project worksheets detail the various neighborhoods contractors will rebuild.

The housing authority split the work up into phases so that they could get money and begin working while waiting on other cash to come in.

One resident who was displaced, living in a hotel from October 2016 until March, sees and appreciates the progress the housing authority is making, but says returning to her old home is likely not an option because of her experience.

“I feel better about it, but I will never ever go back to the new units because of that, because of the water, the flood that I saw,” recalls Lumberton resident Barbara Brown. “Right now, when I go to that area, I get a little teary-eyed, but where I am now, they have me across town.”

Housing authority officials say they hope to get people moved into units within the next four weeks. The housing authority will begin working on other affordable housing neighborhoods once the Weaver Court project is complete.

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