FEMA issues extension to eligible families in motels after Hurricane Matthew

A swift water rescue team down a street covered by floodwaters caused by rain from Hurricane Matthew in Lumberton, N.C., Monday, Oct. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Mike Spencer)

LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Federal Emergency Management Agencies (FEMA) Transitional Sheltering Assistance program for people living in Lumberton motels was scheduled to end this Saturday.

Earlier this week FEMA issued two– 14 day extensions to families that are eligible.

The first 14 day extension deadline is January 21st.

The final 14 day extension deadline is February 5th.

FEMA representatives are performing evaluations with families to see if they are eligible for that extension. If the family is deemed ineligible they:

– Have a housing option (rental or with relatives)

– Have told FEMA they have moved out of the hotel but are still in the hotel

– Have two applications for the same household

– Have access to their homes (home was determined to be either not damage or minor damages)

– Have not updated FEMA on a recovery process (missed an inspection and did not reschedule)

– Have withdrawn application

News13 spoke with FEMA representatives about FEMA mobile homes.

There are currently 17 FEMA mobile homes in Robeson County, 11 families have received keys to those homes.

FEMA specialists say there are limited mobile homes because the homes are a last resort. Each mobile home is set up for select families on an as need basis.

Nathan Custer, FEMA Media Relations Specialist explained, “That is a last resort. It is a very time consuming process. These are manufactured housing units. A location has to be found. There have to be utilities. It has to be above a flood prone area. The zoning has to allow the homes.”

“It is not, by any means, widespread. It is a last resort, that’s has been tailored for a few families, Custer adds.

FEMA hopes to assist families with finding rental properties in the County or surrounding areas.

More than 600 people are still motels. FEMA says they are working to develop housing recovery plans with each of those families.

“The FEMA housing priority has always been a rental property. The problem can be in many of these counties there are not many apartments or houses for rent,” Custer adds.

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