SC storm recovery intake centers open

Flooded streets in Cherry Grove
Flooded streets in Cherry Grove

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) – The South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO) will open two fixed intake centers on November 1 to begin accepting individual applications for housing recovery related to the October 2015 storm. The storm brought unprecedented flooding and damage to 24 counties in South Carolina. On October 8 of this year, Hurricane Matthew swept the state, worsening the existing damage and devastating additional counties. More than half the state continues to battle the effects of these two major storms.

Applications related to the October 2015 storm will be accepted November 1, 2016 through April 30, 2017. The fixed intake centers are located at 318 E. Main Street in Kingstree and 725 Broad Street in Sumter. Each office will be open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

SCDRO will open mobile intake centers on November 7. The mobile offices will change locations each day of the week. During the month of November, the mobile offices will alternate locations between the following counties or combined county areas: Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Clarendon, Charleston, Darlington-Florence, Dorchester, Georgetown, Greenville-Spartanburg, Horry, Kershaw-Lee, Marion, Newberry-Fairfield-Greenwood, and Orangeburg.
The first mobile offices will open in Clarendon, Charleston and Orangeburg counties. The mobile office sites will be announced on November 1. Each office will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For the full mobile intake center schedule, citizens may visit the SCDRO website or call 1-844-330-1199 beginning November 1.

The goal is to serve as many citizens as possible. SCDRO intends to repair or replace approximately 1,500 homes affected by the October 2015 Storm. The program is designed to assist Low to Moderate income households and serve South Carolina’s most vulnerable population. The highest priority will be given to households with documented damage and homeowners who are 65 years old or older, persons with documented disabilities, or households with children five years old or younger. The October 2015 Storm Recovery program focuses on the repair or replacement of homes for the most at risk citizens that do not have the resources to repair or rebuild their homes.

If a citizen was working with Hearts and Hands Disaster Recovery and provided them personal information, SCDRO will contact that citizen directly. Citizens applying for assistance should prepare by collecting the correct documents before visiting the intake center. Finding the required documents can be difficult after a devastating event. The SCDRO has a list of acceptable documents on their website.

Housing repairs will meet construction standards, but upgrades will not be possible. SCDRO will provide citizens with safe, sanitary and secure homes. Citizens may be eligible for housing repair and reconstruction assistance. Any previous funds for home repair received such as homeowner’s insurance, FEMA or local charities, will be subtracted from the total. Households served by this program are required to accept a three year forgivable lien.

South Carolina received funding for the intake centers and housing recovery from a congressionally approved grant administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The $96 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery is dedicated to 22 of the 24 presidentially declared counties affected by the October 2015 storm. The program does not apply to residents of Richland and Lexington County or the City of Columbia, as these jurisdictions received separate grant money. The 22 counties served by the program include Bamberg, Berkeley, Calhoun, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Fairfield, Florence, Georgetown, Greenville, Greenwood, Horry, Kershaw, Lee, Marion, Newberry, Orangeburg, Spartanburg, Sumter, and Williamsburg counties.

SCDRO also has $1 million set aside to help rental property landlords repair their properties. However, the program is limited to a maximum of two properties per landlord and up to $25,000 per property. Following the repairs, the properties will have a five-year lien. The landlord must rent the properties to persons with low to moderate income in a HUD program during this time.

For more information, please visit the SCDRO website, http://www.scstormrecovery.com, which will be available on November 1, 2016.

—The information above is from a submitted press release.