The House committee over disaster relief received a briefing from the state’s Emergency Management Division on Monday detailing how more than $300 million in disaster recovery funds is going to assist North Carolinians.
The funding comes from two pieces of legislation passed in the General Assembly following devastating natural disasters in the state over the last two years.
The Disaster Recovery Acts of 2016 and 2017, appropriated $200 million and $100 million respectively to repair damages and provide aid in the state to those affected by Hurricane Matthew, tropical storms Hermine and Julia, historic flooding and wildfires in the western part of the state.
Though the waters have long since receded and fires been extinguished, many in the state affected by the disasters still face unemployment and uncertainty since the disasters.
“The eastern portion of our state has seen a great deal of challenges during its recovery,” Rep. Brenden Jones (R-Bladen) said. “I am pleased to see continued support from the state legislature and look forward to working with my fellow legislators, the administration, and our local officials as our region continues to recover and grow.”
Jones co-chairs the House Select Disaster Relief Committee, along with House Majority Leader John Bell (R-Wayne).
At the committee’s meeting on Monday, Emergency Management Division Director Mike Sprayberry gave the committee specific spending details on the relief efforts provided by the legislation, including assistance to individuals, housing initiatives, and local government infrastructure.
The funds are also going to assist businesses, agriculture infrastructure, recovery planning, community colleges, and state matching funds for federal assistance programs.
“It’s our duty to monitor the state’s response and make sure the funds go where they were intended to go and that we continue to keep disaster recovery in the forefront as we move forward,” Bell said. “We thank [House Speaker Rep. Tim Moore (R-Cleveland)] for recognizing the importance of the issue and setting up the House Select Committee on Disaster Relief.”
The committee was formed to allow the General Assembly to keep up with how the funds from the two allocations were being spent.
The funds were appropriated as such:
Funding from Disaster Recovery Acts (DRA) of 2016 & 2017
- Housing Programs & Assistance: $20 million DRA-16
- Emergency Management: $9 million DRA-16, $20 million DRA-17
- Lumber River Council of Government: $5 million DRA-17
- Local Government Infrastructure: $40 million DRA-16, $30 million DRA-17
- Golden L.E.A.F. Economic Stabilization: $5 million DRA-16
- Agriculture Infrastructure: $37 million DRA-16, $20 million DRA-17
- Recovery Planning: $11.5 million DRA-16
- Volunteer Fire Depts. Infrastructure: $1 million DRA-16
- Community Colleges: $2.7 million DRA-17
- Emergency Response & Relief: $76.2 million DRA-16, $22.3 million DRA-17
Committee members also discussed mitigating flood-prone communities to make them more resilient, addressing river and stream drainage problems, and planning for damage prevention and future cost-avoidance during the meeting.