Frustrated Wayne Co. residents wondering where money is after Hurricane Matthew

Josh Chapin Image
Friday, June 15, 2018
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People in Wayne County still looking for governmental aid after Hurricane Matthew

WAYNE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds of people in Wayne County are still wondering where the help is from the government after Hurricane Matthew.

"It's frustrating to still have to pay mortgages and insurance," said Ron Jacobs whose home on Hood Drive flooded. "I went to the Small Business Association to get a loan but I'm having to pay insurance on a house I can't live in. It's tough--this has gone on for years."

Many of those residents like Jacobs from Goldsboro attended an information session with the director of the North Carolina Department Public Safety Thursday night.

Viola Ryals-Figueroa spoke as well as at the Maxwell Center. She said she's been speaking out since her childhood home in Goldsboro flooded during Matthew.

"We had just put on a new metal roof in the summer of 2016," she said. "We did new windows and then we had more than three feet of water on the inside of the house."

She said she pleaded with FEMA months after the storm and eventually they set up a trailer on the property where her flooded house is.

"Just to look at this house and know that we can't live in it is hard," Ryals-Figueroa said. "I can't go in because I'm allergic to mold. We definitely don't want to be bought out because they're not going to give us the value we want for this land. This is my home and this is what I know so it's a hurt piece."

Her mother and disabled husband, who served in the military, live in the trailer with her. She is one of three families at the meeting Thursday still living in their trailers.

Figueroa said she's trying to figure out what's next because their rent due for the trailer in July is nearly $1,600.

Mike Sprayberry, director of the NC Department of Public Safety, said he promises that those folks will not be forgotten

"We understand that people are hurting," Sprayberry said. "They do need their money and we're working as fast and as hard as we can to get it to them."

Assistant Wayne County Manager Chip Crumpler said more than 500 homes sustained damage during the storm.

He said more than 330 people applied for FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Program (i.e., to be bought out) and more than 80 qualified. Local officials assure those folks should have their money by the end of July.

Ryals-Figueroa said she's had to rely on her faith moving forward.

"It's a roof over our head," she said. "We're not living in a hotel, it's a roof over our head and as I said, it's not a home because we can't hang pictures on the wall. My husband had his oxygen tube running from the living room to the bedroom. This is the hand we've been dealt."