Robeson County in need of housing for recovery volunteers

A long school year finally came to an end Wednesday in Robeson County. 

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – When Hurricane Matthew hit Robeson County last October, thousands were left without a roof over their heads. In the months since, officials in Lumberton have been working to put those in need in contact with help.

“Our focus is shifting,” said Linda Oxendine with the City of Lumberton.

Oxendine has seen it all in the seven months since Hurricane Matthew devastated the area. Now that most are out of hotels and moving into more permanent housing, she said the recovery efforts have a new set of goals.

“Our focus right now is finding locations to house volunteers,” Oxendine explained.

The warehouse on Cedar Street in downtown Lumberton has been open since just after the flood waters receded. Once filled to the brim with supplies for families seeking shelter in and around the city, things there are winding down as efforts shift from relief to recovery.

“We’re gonna be shutting down the warehouse on June 30th,” Oxendine said.

The building has been sold and a new business will likely move in there. Oxendine said the few supplies left in the warehouse are now no longer limited to flood victims.

“Now we’re opening up to almost anyone that has a need,” Oxendine said.

Oxendine said those who want to look through what is left at the warehouse, they should contact City Hall.

As the long-term recovery group in Robeson County gets going, she said grant applications are going to be the main way the rebuilding gets started.

“We just sent in a grant to the United Way of North Carolina for $750,000,” Oxendine confirms.

Oxendine said most of that will go toward supplies needed to start rebuilding homes and businesses. A smaller portion will go toward furniture and appliances–some of the things most needed when moving into a new place after a disaster. She said more than anything though, new warehousing is needed for the countless volunteers and church groups already headed into Robeson County.

“We’re working with the United Methodist Church group, finding them a location to house volunteers, and after them we’ve been asked by the National Association of Christian Churches that’s also here on the ground,” she said.

Most needed in the Robeson County now:

  • Supplies for rebuilding efforts (shovels, work gloves, outdoor equipment)
  • Furniture
  • Space to house volunteers

If you think you could help, contact Lumberton City Hall at 910-671-3806.