Hurricanes

FEMA releases Hurricane Matthew recovery money

Posted October 2

— The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Monday lifted a freeze on about $110 million owed to dozens of North Carolina counties for repairs after Hurricane Matthew.

FEMA put a hold on the money a few weeks ago so emergency funding could head to Texas and Florida in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, respectively.

"FEMA protocol freezes long-term projects immediately after major disasters to ensure enough cash on hand to meet life-threatening needs," Republican 9th District Congressman Robert Pittenger said in a statement.

Pittenger said two funding bills he supported helped free up the Matthew recovery funds, but he didn't provide any timeframe for when the money would be available.

State Division of Emergency Management officials said they had no confirmation that the freeze had been lifted.

Most of the individual claims for Matthew recovery money have already been paid out. The money that had been held up would reimburse cities and counties for infrastructure repairs and upgrades.

A hazard mitigation program that funds FEMA buyouts of properties and helps homeowners elevate their property out of flood zones also was part of the freeze, but officials said that didn't affect North Carolina because the state won't disburse any money under that program for another few months.

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