State awards $43 million in grants to help build affordable housing in counties hit by hurricanes | Wifi 90.7

State awards $43 million in grants to help build affordable housing in counties hit by hurricanes |  Wifi 90.7

Five local and tribal governments in eastern North Carolina received a total of $43 million to build affordable housing in areas devastated by major hurricanes.

The latest round of federally funded grants through the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resilience (NCORR) Affordable Housing Development Fund will go to single-family and multifamily housing projects in Bladen, Duplin, Jones, Pamlico, Pender and Scotland counties.

“A big goal of our affordable housing program is to help increase the supply of safe, affordable housing in areas most impacted by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence,” said Tracy Cullors, NCORR’s director of community development.

The projects will include about 200 units of new single-family homes and new or renovated apartments in areas outside 100-year-old floodplains, to reduce the risk of future storms amid climate change.

NCORR estimates that nearly half a million homes were damaged or destroyed in Hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

Lumbees to build in 4 provinces

Among the beneficiaries is the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, which plans to build new single-family homes in four counties. NCORR awarded the tribe $7.4 million of the total cost of $11 million to build 30 single-family homes in the tribal area, which includes Robeson, Scotland, Hoke and Cumberland.

Other projects funded in this round are:

  • $9.6 million to Scotland County, for 55 rental units in partnership with the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency and the Southeast Community Action Partnership.
  • $9.7 million to the city of Maysville in Jones County, for 40 multifamily affordable housing units in partnership with Carolina Statewide Development LLC.
  • $6.6 million to Pamlico County, for 29 of the 56-unit Pamlico Grove Apartments being developed by Mills Property Development, LLC. The project will also use federal tax credits and bank loans to complete the total cost of $13.6 million.
  • $9.7 million to the city of Bullaville, in Duplin County, which will work with developer Carolina Statewide Development LLC to build 40 multifamily rental units in an area with few rental housing options.

In total, NCORR’s Community Development Division has now allocated a total of $122 million through the fund.
It has been years since communities have lost housing units to storms, and Cullors acknowledged that the grants have been a long time coming. Initial grants were awarded in 2019, but so far only one development has been completed and occupied. She added that another branch is scheduled to open soon.

“The pandemic has delayed a number of developments that this program and others have funded,” she said. “And so we’ve seen some projects extend further than we had originally hoped they would be completed.”

A related community development program also recently announced $10 million in grants to renovate and rebuild housing in Haywood County, in the mountains of North Carolina, due to damage from Tropical Storm Fred in 2021.

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