Affordable housing units coming to several ENC counties

Oct 29, 2021

Credit N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency

More than 1,000 affordable housing units will be built in Eastern North Carolina communities hit-hard by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. The N.C. Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) has committed to fund the units for low-to-moderate income households using approximately $53.5 million of the state’s HUD Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery funds. NCORR is partnering with three subrecipients - the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, public housing authorities in the cities of Lumberton and Wilson, and Cumberland County government to complete a total of 17 projects.  Laura Hogshead, chief operating officer for NCORR, said the projects are slated for communities that were devastated by Matthew and Florence.

“We have a set of counties for both Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence that have been both identified [by] HUD as needing the most assistance and where we are obligated to spend 80% of our funds. So HUD tells us where to spend our money, we then work with those local communities to assess local needs and figure out how best to address those needs”.

The new housing units will be constructed in 10 counties in the eastern region.  Pending environmental review and approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the affordable housing units would be built in Fayetteville, Goldsboro, Jacksonville, Lumberton, New Bern, Rocky Mount, Shallotte, Whiteville, Wilmington and Wilson.  Hogshead says the new units will be safer and able to withstand future storms. 

“These [units] are built to HUD’s highest standard”, said Hogshead.  “That’s why we’re putting them outside of the floodplain, that’s why we make sure they are built to the most modern standards, and that they have that green energy elements within them so that folks not only have lower utility costs while they live there but that they’re safer when whatever storm comes to them”.

Hogshead said construction on some low-income housing projects has already begun.  For example, the Whitfield Homes project in Wilson, NC is almost halfway complete.  All of the new housing is expected to be finished before 2026 with the units offered as rentals to eligible households. 

“The eligibility criteria is usually 60% of area-median income or below. Folks need to attest that they’ve had a hurricane impact, which is not hard to do in these counties. So, as we do work in these counties, as we buyout people from the floodplain because it's simply not safe to live there, as we recognize that there’s not enough affordable housing stock to begin with, we’re asking that folks to tell us what their impacts from the hurricanes were and then come live in safer facilities so that the next time around, they are not impacted the same way they were during Hurricanes Matthew or Florence”.

Building new, affordable housing for low-income households is one step in helping communities recover.  Another is continuing to repair the damage caused by Hurricanes Mathew and Florence. NCORR still has funding available for homeowners that need help with repairs.

Established in 2018 following Hurricane Florence, NCORR has committed $285.2 million to homeowners for repairs and reconstruction.  The agency has completed more than 700 homes and is in the process of constructing more 200 homes. Hogshead said individuals with storm damage can still apply for help fixing and replacing their storm-damaged homes through the ReBuild NC Program by going to rebuild.nc.gov. 

“If they have storm damage, they need to be at 80% or below of area-median income which is not a hard standard to make. And they need to tell us what their storm damage was”, said Hogshead.  “We have 5,000 [applicants] overall that are moving through the process, about a thousand of those have completely moved through the steps of the process into their new home.”

 

N.C. Housing Finance Agency projects

  • Goldsboro, Wayne County - 48 units
  • Fayetteville, Cumberland County - 80 units
  • Lumberton, Robeson County - 66 units
  • Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County - 50 units
  • Fayetteville, Cumberland County - 80 units
  • Fayetteville, Cumberland County - 72 units
  • Jacksonville, Onslow County - 72 units
  • Rocky Mount, Edgecombe County - 64 units
  • Wilmington, New Hanover County - 84 units
  • Shallotte, Brunswick County - 72 units
  • Whiteville, Columbus County - 60 units
  • Lumberton, Robeson County - 72 units
  • New Bern, Craven County - 60 units
  • Wilmington, New Hanover County - 72 units

Cumberland County project

  • Fayetteville, Cumberland County - 12 units

Housing Authority of the City of Lumberton project

  • Lumberton, Robeson County - 72 units

Wilson Housing Authority project 

  • Wilson, Wilson County - 32 units