In three months, the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO) will close its mobile and fixed intake centers. To date, SCDRO has taken over 2,000 cases of people who still have unmet needs following the 2015 flood. South Carolina Public Radio learns, as this deadline draws near, the intake process for a program to help Hurricane Matthew victims is also approaching.
Almost three months after SCDRO established fixed and mobile intake centers, to receive applications to its recovery program, the office has announced the release of 17 award letters to citizens for the repair or replacement of homes. Six homeowners are currently living in new manufactured units.
When it comes to a recovery program for victims of Hurricane Matthew, SCDRO’s Carl Lopez said the beginning of that process could start in less than two months.
“By the end of February, if everything goes well and we get the notice from HUD that we can start writing the new action plan, the process like we did for the flood, will start all over again.”
The HUD notice is called the Federal Register. It describes applicable waivers and alternative requirements, relevant statutory provisions for the CDBG-DR (Community Development Block Grant- Disaster Recovery). The notice also details the grant award process, criteria for plan approval, and eligible disaster recovery activities.
That process would include writing an action plan and waiting for HUD's approval; as well as hosting town hall meetings throughout storm-impacted areas.
The April 30 deadline applies to applications being filed at intake centers for the state's 2015 flood recovery program. Although 24 counties received FEMA Individual Housing (IA) assistance as part of the statewide declared event, SCDRO will provide assistance to eligible applicants in only 22 counties. The above map shows the total number of started applications to the state's program and also illustrates where applications are coming from within those 22 counties.
"At the end of April, we should have a tally of the number of tier one candidates that we're going to take care of. When we get those taken care of, we're going to move down to our tier two people," Lopez said.
SCDRO has stated that it intends to repair or replace between 1,500 and 1,700 homes affected by the October 2015 Storm. When the program has exhausted its resources, Lopez said, information about victims, who fall into lower-tier categories, who still have unmet needs, will be shared with VOADS and nonprofits working in local long-term recovery groups.
In Orangeburg County, 54 cases of unmet needs from the 2015 flood, still exist. Emergency Management Director Billy Staley said more business partnerships and community involvement are needed to help continue long-term recovery efforts in the area.
"We want to bring those partners to the table. We want bring those businesses to the table and we want to bring the volunteer organizations to the table," he said.
Staley added, the group needs more stakeholders to work with them to volunteer to get recovery work done. The group's next meeting is scheduled for February 1 at 10 AM at Cornerstone Community Church in Orangeburg.
Another Deadline Affecting Flood Victims Is Fast Approaching
The Salvation Army in Orangeburg said it has resources to help victims of the 2015 flood, but because the number of cases the organization receives has decreased that funding will go away. In the audio clip below, The Salvation Army's Captain Robert Long explains.
Long said within the next 60 days, the organization could end its long-term recovery for the 2015 flood. He added, in order for a person to receive assistance from the organization, they would need their FEMA number.
"Whether they were approved or denied, it doesn't matter. As long as they have that FEMA number from the 2015 flood, we are able to assist up to a certain amount. The organization can provide assistance for rent, utilities, furniture, appliances and repairs. More information on how the organization can assistance 2015 flood victims is available at www.salvationarmycarolinas.org/orangeburg or at (803) 534-6805.