LUMBERTON, N.C. (WBTW) — The city of Lumberton has been awarded a $7.2 million grant to pay for the purchase and demolition of 50 homes that have repeatedly flooded through the years, officials said.
The state of North Carolina and the Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the grant, which became available after damage by Hurricane Florence in 2018.
“Removing these structures and converting the parcels to open space will allow natural floodplain functions,” FEMA said in a news release. “It will also allow the homeowners to relocate and eliminate the risk they faced in the floodplain.”
Lumberton Mayor Bruce W. Davis called the housing-assistance grant “welcomed news.”
“The property owners who will benefit from this program have been impacted by two major hurricanes, Matthew in 2016 and Florence in 2018,” he said. “These events have disrupted their lives, while causing extensive damage to their property. Acquiring these properties will allow homeowners to locate outside the flood areas in a safe environment and is not adversely affected by extreme weather conditions.”
North Carolina officials also welcomed the grant.
“It is always good to provide residents with an opportunity to move out of harm’s way and save lives and money over the long-term through this process,” said Steve McGugan, the state’s hazard mitigation officer.
FEMA reimburses 75 percent of eligible project costs and the remaining 25 percent is covered by the state. FEMA’s cost share for this project is $5.4 million, while the state will cover $1.8 million. The federal share is reimbursed to the state which disburses the funds to the local government.