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Legislative committee on hurricane recovery to meet Sept. 14 to probe reasons behind massive disaster relief delays

(Photos: Lisa Sorg)

Thousands of survivors of Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence remain out of their homes — some for nearly three years — prompting lawmakers to investigate why disaster relief has been so delayed. The first meeting of the Subcommittee on Hurricane Response and Recovery will meet next month. Although the format has not yet been announced, expect the director of the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency, Laura Hogshead, to testify.

In May, Policy Watch launched an investigative series about the problems at NCORR, also known as ReBuild NC. Interviews with dozens of homeowners have shown how the program has been mismanaged to the detriment of the displaced people. The state has spent upward of $10.6 million on housing hurricane survivors in motels and on mobile storage units for their belongings.

Homeowners have complained that their houses have sat idle for years with no work being done on them. Weeks, even months pass before they hear from their case managers, who are their liaisons with the ReBuild NC Program.

Several have told Policy Watch they could not perform emergency repairs on their homes — in one case, the roof has been leaking for four years and has shorted out electrical wiring — or be deemed ineligible for the program. Others have been told they cannot have financial documentation about their repairs until the work is done — and then only by filing a public records request.

At least 10 people have died while waiting to return to their homes.

Laura Hogshead, director and chief operating officer of the ReBuild NC program. (Photo: NCORR)

What to know before you go

When: Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 9 a.m.
Where: Auditorium (Third Floor) of the Legislative Building, 16 W. Jones St., Raleigh. The auditorium holds 250 people.
Tips: If you’ve never been to the legislature, arrive early because you will have to pass through security and metal detectors. You can bring in laptops, cell phones and electronic devices. The building is accessible for people with mobility issues.
There are parking garages and street-level lots near the legislative complex.
If you have questions once you arrive in the building, there is an information desk near the building entrance. And here is more visitor information.

Here are the subcommittee members, with links to their contact information.

Senate                                                                                     House

Danny Britt (R-Columbus, Robeson)                                    Brenden Jones (R-Columbus, Robeson)
Jim Perry (R-Lenoir, Wayne)                                                  Mark Pless (R-Haywood, Madison, Yancey)
Steve Jarvis (R-Davidson, Montgomery)                              Sarah Stevens (R-Alleghany, Surry, Wilkes)
Kirk deViere (D-Cumberland)                                                 Charles Graham (D-Robeson)
Joyce Waddell (D-Mecklenburg)                                            Shelly Willingham (D-Edgecombe, Martin)

 

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Legislative committee on hurricane recovery to meet Sept. 14 to probe reasons behind massive disaster relief delays