Hurricane Matthew victims prepare for life after living in motels

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) –  It’s that time of year when people head home for the holidays but for many in Lumberton, they will spend the holidays in motels because their homes were flooded by Hurricane Matthew. They are set to leave those motels early next year.

Motel extension and FEMA mobile home rumors are circling around Lumberton, News13 reached out to FEMA and the Robeson County officials to get some answers.

FEMA spokesperson, William Rukeyser, hopes to create open lines of communication with Hurricane Matthew victims.

The first step is addressing rumors about motel extensions for people displaced by Hurricane Matthew.

Rukeyser said, “We get it, hotels and motels are not the ideal solution.”

“At this time the deadline stands. I don’t know what will happen in the future but people should be looking for all housing opportunities available,” Rukeyser adds.

The checkout date for families and elderly living in motels is January 7th.

The next step for evacuees is to start the transitional process with FEMA, which includes looking for rental properties.

The best solution is to make decisions that are best for you and then look to see what FEMA can do for the next few months,” Rukeyser explains.

Robeson County Spokesperson, Emily Jones says the county already approved 15 permits and working on 15 more.

Doretha Mitchell has been living in a motel since she left her home in waist deep water, she says she wants to look into a temporary mobile unit while she rebuilds.

Mitchell, “I have a place to live right now, but a mobile home would be much nicer.”

Rukeyser says make a verbal request about what you feel is the best step as you recover.

If you would like to update FEMA on your recovery process ask for transitional help call the FEMA help line 1-800- 621-3362. The help line  will be Saturday until 6pm, they will reopen Monday at 7am.