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State awards $43M in grants to help build affordable housing in counties hit by hurricanes

This house in eastern North Carolina flooded during Hurricane Florence in 2018.
David Boraks
Nearly a half-million housing units were damaged or destroyed in North Carolina during hurricanes Matthew and Florence. This house flooded during Florence in 2018.

Five local and tribal governments in eastern North Carolina are getting a total of $43 million to build affordable housing in areas devastated by major hurricanes.

The final round of federally funded grants through the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) Affordable Housing Development Fund is going to single-family and multi-family housing developments in Bladen, Duplin, Jones, Pamlico, Pender and Scotland counties.

"The big picture goal of our affordable housing program is to help increase the supply of safe affordable housing in the areas that were most impacted by hurricanes Matthew and Florence," said Tracey Colores, NCORR's director of community development.

The projects will include about 200 units of new single-family homes and new or renovated apartments in areas outside the 100-year floodplain, to reduce risks from future storms amid climate change.

NCORR estimates that nearly a half-million homes were damaged or destroyed in hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

Lumbees to build in 4 counties

Among the recipients is the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, which plans new single-family homes in four counties. NCORR gave the tribe $7.4 million toward the total $11 million cost for building 30 single-family homes in the tribal territory, which includes Robeson, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland.

Other projects funded this round are:

  • $9.6 million to Scotland County, for 55 rental units in partnership with North Carolina Housing Finance Agency and Southeastern Community Action Partnership. 
  • $9.7 million to the town of Maysville in Jones County, for 40 units of affordable multi-family housing in partnership with Carolina Statewide Development LLC.
  • $6.6 million to Pamlico County, for 29 units of the 56-unit Pamlico Grove apartments being developed by Mills Property Development, LLC. The project also will use federal tax credits and bank loans to complete the $13.6 million total cost. 
  • $9.7 million to the town of Beulaville, in Duplin County, which will work with developer Carolina Statewide Development LLC to build 40 multi=family rental units in an area where few rental housing options exist.

Altogether, NCORR's community development division has now allocated a total of $122 million through the fund.
It's been years since the communities lost housing units to the storms, and Colores acknowledged that the grants have been a long time coming. Initial grants were made in 2019, but so far only a single development has been finished and occupied. Another is due to open soon, she said.

"The pandemic resulted in a delay for a number of the developments that were funded by this program and others. And so we've seen some of the projects extend beyond what we had originally hoped where they would be finished," she said.

A related community development program also recently announced $10 million in grants to renovate and rebuild housing in Haywood County, in the North Carolina mountains, because of damage from Tropical Storm Fred in 2021.

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David Boraks is a veteran journalist who covers climate change for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.