Disaster Recovery Fair helps Lumberton Hurricane Matthew victims get answers

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – The Department of Housing And Urban Development (HUD) held a disaster recovery resource fair today with more than 10 Federal and State agencies Saturday. HUD officials say they saw the need to give people answers to help piece their lives together.

Three months After Hurricane Matthew Jennifer Mickels and hundreds of Robeson County residents find themselves still in the eye of the storm.

Mickles said, “Trying to get back into my home has been a fight.”

“I just want to go home,” Mikles adds.

Mickels and her family are living in a hotel, while trying to repeal a denied Small Business Administration (SBA) loan.

“All these months out and I’m still asking the basic questions. Can I get the help I need? When will that help come? And essentially when can we go back home?”

HUD partnered with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies to create an opportunity for people to get answers while speaking face to face.

Nate Custer, FEMA PIO said, “We are sort of like a one stop shopping operation for people who are admittedly struggling to find a place to live.”

About 500 people are still living in motels. Some have to check out next Saturday. The next obstacle involves affordable and available housing options in the county.

“In reality, they may have to go somewhere else to live. There is simply not enough rental housing units available in this immediate area,” Custer said.

HUD officials say many people do not want to relocate because of employment or family ties in the county.

Mickles says the available rentals in the county are expensive and could prevent her from saving enough money to rebuild her home.

“My thinking is to save every penny I can to get me and my family back into our home,” said Mickles.

HUD recommends people still looking for housing after the storm should contact the public housing office Tuesday.

FEMA: 1-800-621-FEMA (1-800-621-3362)

SBA:800-827-5722

Public Housing Authority:(910) 738-4866