Lumberton leaders to review loan program to help Hurricane Matthew victims

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – One city in Robeson County received $150,000 to help homeowners rebuild after Hurricane Matthew.

Residents in Lumberton can get up to $40,000 to repair damages with the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool Program sponsored by the NC Housing Finance Agency.

“It’s like a ghost town. It’s just not the same,” said Shirley Evans, a homeowner with flood damage. “Everybody is gone from the neighborhood.”

Evans and her family are one of a few people living their West Lumberton neighborhood. She said the entire neighborhood was under water. Now many of her neighbors cannot afford to repair their homes.

Flooding from Hurricane Matthew damaged walls and floors in the Evans home. The family replaced the walls but is not sure how to pay for the floor repairs.

“We haven’t made our mind up yet on what to do,” said Evans.

The City of Lumberton Community Development Administrator Teresa Johnson works with homeowners with damaged homes like Evans every day.

“Every day I see people still living in motels or living in apartments in Cumberland and Robeson County. They are devastated,” said Johnson. “One thing I can do for the community that I grew up in is be here to assist people.”

Johnson plans to go before Lumberton City Council on Wednesday with plans for an Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool Program of $150,000 sponsored by the NC Housing Finance Agency.

If approved by council, three qualified homes in the city may receive up to $40,000 for repairs.

Johnson explained, “As the applications come in we are going to try and pre-qualify in increments of 25. We’ll go through the first 25 on a first come first serve basis and try to find three. If not, we’ll go to the next 25.”

After the City of Lumberton completes its first three homes, the state may give the city more money if it’s still available to help families rebuild.

“The way the loan pool works, after we spend the first installment. NC Housing coming down and looks at what we’ve done and they are satisfied. If funds are still available we can tap in and get more money to help more families,” said Johnson. “The city is constantly looking for money whether it is for families or to rebuild infrastructure.”

Evans said her family will apply for any help available.

“I hope everybody gets something because they need it. If there is enough money appropriated for all of us, if there is not then we’ll do it ourselves the best way we can,” she explained.

If approved by Lumberton City Council, the loan for homeowners will be forgiven at the rate of $5,000 per year. As long that they are in the home and do not resale. Johsnon also says the applications should be available at the end on the month.

To qualify for the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool Program you must:

  • Have at least $5,000 in damage from Hurricane Matthew, Tropical Storm Hermine or Julia (as determined by a specialist)
  • Live outside of a flood zone
  • Own and live in your home
  • Up to date on taxes in Lumberton and Robeson County (or on a payment plan)
  • Income not exceed 100% of the median income
  • Manufactured homes are not eligible