Local News

FEMA housing process continues in Robeson County

Posted January 12

— It's been nearly three months since Hurricane Matthew carved a water path through Robeson County. Selena Esperanza remembers it like it was yesterday.

"We were there during the hurricane," she said. "We had to get out on the boat. That's how we got out of my house."

Since then, Esperanza, who is pregnant, has lived in a Motel 6 with her six children. All of her belongings not damaged by flood water are packed in the corner of her room.

"I've been basically almost every day trying to find something," she said. "It's hard. You know there's so much stuff that got flooded here. It's hard to find anything."

FEMA is paying for more than 500 families to stay in the spattering of motels that line interstate-95. They even have about two dozen mobile homes that they're providing for some flood victims as a last resort.

"It takes a long time to set those up," said Nate Custer, a FEMA spokesman. "You have to find a location. You have to have utilities there. It's got to be above a flood plain, and it has to meet the local zoning requirments."

Families are having a tough time because the rent on places not damaged by the storm has gone up, pricing many out of the housing market.

"People need to be working as diligently as they can on trying to find some kind of housing option for them for getting back on their feet," Custer said.

Esperanza said that's what she's been doing for the past three months. She's ready to find a place so she can get things back to normal for her children.

"I'm ready for a hot cooked meal. I'm ready to be in the kitchecn to cook, to be able to cook my kids something to eat."

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