McCrory: Wildfires could affect hurricane recovery funds

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Hurricane Recovery Committee meets in Fayetteville.

Six weeks after Hurricane Matthew devastated towns and cities across the state, hundreds of people are still out of their homes.

Monday, the Hurricane Matthew Recovery Committee updated the people in Fayetteville where Gov. Pat McCrory reiterated that housing is still the No. 1 priority.

But even as the committee continues to seek clarification on the widespread struggles left behind by Matthew, a new threat emerged: The wildfires out west could be burning a hole in the state's wallet for emergency funding.

McCrory said each of the states of emergency created by the wildfires in western NC could affect the amount approved for hurricane disaster relief.

RELATED: MCCRORY VISITS EDGECOMBE COUNTY, GIVES HURRICANE MATTHEW UPDATE

"There's no doubt that all of these states of emergencies are impacting our funds and impacting all of our resources that we have available," McCrory said, "and they may even impact our special session that I'll be calling at the beginning of December."

As of last Friday, $152 million in federal grants, loans and flood insurance payments have been approved for those impacted. FEMA agreed to provide more than $76 million in grants for homeowners and renters while 1,400 households remain in hotel rooms.

The committee has been holding regional update meetings in counties across the southeastern part of the state.

RELATED: CONCERNS AIRED AS HURRICANE RECOVERY COMMITTEE MEETS

The objective of these meetings is to gain an understanding from stakeholders and community members on what the concerns and struggles are. The findings will be presented to the General Assembly, which will then determine what a relief funding package will look like.
At Monday's meeting in Fayetteville, McCrory was eager to hear residents' concerns, but unlike last week's session in Lumberton where numerous people sounded off about recovery efforts, only one person in Fayetteville spoke up.


McCrory said that could mean one of two things: that recovery efforts are going great or that there's a line of communication that needs to improve.

"I'm not going to accept just one coming because that might mean we need to go find the people impacted and make sure their needs are being met," McCrory said. "So I don't take that as a message one way or the other. This is just one opportunity for people to speak up and give us feedback."

The state is still crunching the numbers to figure out the financial impact. The regional committee meetings will continue during the next few weeks.

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