Cooper tours Lumberton, promises more hurricane recovery help

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Gov. Roy Cooper is asking for more federal funds to help with hurricane recovery.

It's been six months since Hurricane Matthew swept through the Cape Fear region. Tuesday, Gov. Roy Cooper toured Lumberton looking at the recovery.

Cooper began his day at the Robeson County Emergency Operations Center where he spoke with local elected officials about relief efforts and progress.

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Cameras were not allowed in the meeting until closing statements, but Cooper said local stakeholders mostly expressed concerns about housing. About 130 families in Robeson County are still living in hotels or FEMA housing.

While that's a significant improvement, Cooper says that points to the issue of the unavailability of affordable housing in the county. That's why he's petitioned Congress for an additional $925 million.

Cumberland County has only seen about $100,000 of the millions it was promised. The governor said he is aware of that and help is on the way.

"Long term recovery is challenging," Cooper said. "We're talking about a mix of federal and state funding and there's a lot of rules to make sure that taxpayers' money doesn't get in the wrong hands or go to the wrong place but I know that people are working hard to make sure that it gets done."

Though most of Cooper's visit with elected officials focused on the housing crisis, he also visited several local businesses, including Currie Chainsaw Company.

The motorsports store is still working to recover after losing 80 percent of its inventory. Many of its bikes were either washed away by the floods or pushed away by looters. Though the store has re-opened, there's still work to be done. The owner, John Currie, told ABC11 he's confident that Cooper will help.

"It was good. Good to know that he's thinking about us that were flooded and that he's coming back to check up on us," Currie said.

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