Hurricane Matthew left many residents in Sampson County without a home, business or place to work. To offset some of the devastation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has announced federal disaster assistance to supplement state and local recovery help.
According to Sarah Bradshaw, director of the Sampson County Department of Social Services, while federal funding has been marked for the residents of Sampson County, that assistance hasn’t been made readily available as of Monday morning.
“At some point, FEMA will set up a mobile command post here at our office,” Bradshaw said. “Until then, I would encourage people to continue calling our office to find out if they should make the trip.”
Since last Wednesday, Bradshaw said her office has seen more than 2,000 residents who are seeking assistance from hurricane-related damages. The local agency is pulling together resource information and directing residents in the paths they should follow.
“We are using our resource information to help provide residents with any assistance that is possible,” Bradshaw said.
DSS is currently accepting replacement applications for individuals currently receiving Food and Nutrition benefits and will continue to do so up to 10 days from the loss. The state also has a hot food waiver effective until Nov. 14 for those residents who are currently receiving assistance.
Federal assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
Federal funding is also available to state and eligible tribal and local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and federal funding is available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.
State emergency officials continue to work with FEMA to develop temporary housing solutions for those affected by the storm. There have been 33,478 applications received for Individual Assistance and more than $12.4 million has been approved. There are more than 500 FEMA inspectors currently assessing damage throughout the flooded areas. More inspectors ensure more damage assessments can take place. Damage assessments determine how much federal funding can be awarded to a given area.
“FEMA workers are out and doing damage assessments,” Bradshaw said.
For local assistance or question, please call the Sampson County DSS office at 910-592-7131.
Individuals and business owners who sustained losses in the designated area can apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). Disaster assistance applicants, who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice.
Hurricane Matthew left behind many closed businesses in the Sampson County area, leaving many residents without an income or employment location.
Due to the effects of the storm, the Division of Employment Security has announced that 20 counties, including Sampson, have been approved for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. Additional counties may be added to the DUA at a later date.
Gov. Pat McCrory has directed DES not to enforce the one-week waiting period and job search requirements for individuals whose employment or self-employment has been lost or interrupted as a direct result of a major disaster, like Hurricane Matthew.
Individuals who are affected by the disaster and are unable to continue working must file an application for benefits within 30 days from today, by Nov. 14, 2016. Workers who became unemployed as a direct result of the effects of Hurricane Matthew impacting North Carolina, may be eligible for unemployment insurance benefits under the DUA program. Business owners affected by the storm may also qualify for benefits.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.