Gov. Cooper tours Edgecombe County, promising push to rebuild after Matthew
Posted March 16
Edgecombe County, NC — Gov. Roy Cooper visited Edgecombe County Thursday to tour areas still struggling to recover from devastation left behind by Hurricane Matthew.
It's been five months since the storm tore through the eastern part of North Carolina, leaving behind widespread damage in dozens of communities. More than 100 families in Edgecombe County are still living in hotels after their homes were flooded.
Cooper said Thursday that he'll be pushing for more affordable housing options to help those struggling to afford to move out of temporary housing back into permanent homes.
"I thought it was important to come to Edgecombe County today to talk with officials who are working to help people get back on their feet after the devastation of Matthew," Cooper said during a Thursday news conference in Tarboro.
"Princeville is historic and it represents hope and progress. It is important for us to provide assistance to the people of this town and once again get Princeville back on its feet."
Cooper's tour of Edgecombe County started with a meeting in Tarboro. He also toured Princeville Elementary School, which has been closed since Matthew roared through North Carolina.
Princeville officials have been asking for help dealing with the ongoing housing crisis caused by the storm.
"You can tell that the flood has really brought about a change in the area. It's just not the same," said Kenneth Williams, who lives nearby. "I think it will be hard to rebuild for some people."
A Quality Inn in Tarboro is currently home for 46 families who were flooded out of their homes in October. More than 50 additional families are living in other hotels across Edgecombe County.
About 75 percent of the homes in Princeville were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Matthew.
The town manager said the historic African-American town is not getting the help it needs from the federal government.
A FEMA spokesperson told WRAL that they are trying to help find flood victims permanent housing, but there are not a lot of options nearby.
Flood victims have until the end of the month to decide if they want to rebuild, elevate their homes, or ask for a buyout from FEMA.