Get help: Recovering from Matthew

More than a month after Hurricane Matthew dumped more than a foot of rain in many places, people in dozens of communities in the eastern part of the state are struggling.

Matthew destroyed homes, business, crops and lives. More than 20 people died, and thousands had to be rescued from floodwaters. Large oak tree fell Hurricane Matthew photos by town

Residents of Anson, Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chatham, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Martin, Moore, Nash, Northampton, Onslow, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Tyrrell, Wake, Washington, Wayne and Wilson counties who have received damage as a result of Hurricane Matthew can register with FEMA.

Those in need of assistance can call 1-800-621-3362 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. (local time) seven days a week or visit DisasterAssistance.gov, enter their address and find out if the area where they live has been declared for individual assistance.

At Disaster Recovery Centers, storm survivors can meet face-to-face with representatives from North Carolina Emergency Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Small Business Administration, volunteer groups and other agencies for aid including:

  • Guidance about disaster recovery and eligibility
  • Assistance applying
  • Application status updates
  • Clarification of any written correspondence received
  • Housing assistance and rental resource information
  • Referrals to other agencies and state programs that may provide further assistance
  • Information about disaster-related funeral and other needs assistance
  • Information about low-interest disaster loans.

The state has set up a Hurricane Matthew assistance hotline. Dial 211 to speak with a trained call specialist; the service is free, confidential and available in any language.

FILE AN INSURANCE CLAIM

  • Contact your insurance agent as quickly as possible and ask for instructions on what to do until the adjuster arrives.
  • Prepare an inventory of personal property that has been damaged or destroyed; take pictures of the damaged property.
  • Keep all receipts. Reasonable expenses to protect your property are part of the loss and are generally reimbursed by insurance companies.
  • Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.
  • If your home is uninhabitable, most homeowner’s policies pay additional living expenses while your property is being repaired. Before renting temporary housing, check with your insurance company or agent to determine what expenses will be reimbursed.
  • Review the settlement steps outlined in your policy. If you are dissatisfied with the proposed settlement offer, explain your position. If there is a significant difference between what the insurance company offers and what you believe you are entitled to, you may wish to submit the dispute to arbitration.

If you have questions about the insurance claims process or need assistance, you can call the Consumer Services Division of the N.C. Department of Insurance at 1-800-546-5664, your county cooperative extension agent or the N.C. Insurance News Service at 1-800-936-7475.

REPLACE IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

Events such as the flooding caused by Hurricane Matthew commonly result in the loss of important documents. North Carolinians can use the following resources to replace lost or damaged documents and records.

Contact your county Department of Social Services: 1-866-719-0141

Replace your EBT card: 888-622-7328

Order new birth, death, marriage certificates: 919-733-3000

Replace a lost driver's license

Replace vehicle titles: 919-715-7000

Replace a Social Security card

Replace a Medicare card: 800-772-1213

Replace a Green Card: 800-375-5283

Replace a U.S. Passport: 877-487-2778

Replace an EE bond

Request military service records

FEMA HOUSING ASSISTANCE

FEMA is working closely with individual aid applicants to tailor housing solutions. Manufactured homes are only one option, and they are only utilized when all other options have been exhausted.

There are several stages in the process before a household will be offered a manufactured housing unit.

Registration and Inspection

An applicant registers with FEMA. During the registration process, the applicant provides FEMA with initial information about the impact of the disaster on their property and their current housing status. The applicant’s damaged dwelling is visited by an inspector and levels of damage are recorded.

Financial Housing Assistance

A determination of eligibility for FEMA financial housing assistance is made based on the inspector’s report. Eligible displaced households who do not have insurance to cover their temporary housing requirement are provided with rental assistance.

Direct Housing Eligibility determination

When there are not enough available rental resources within a reasonable commuting distance, FEMA will look at the need to conduct a Direct Housing Assessment.

Based on the results of the Direct Housing Assessment FEMA can authorize Direct Temporary Housing Assistance in the form of Manufactured Housing Units (MHUs), at the request of the state.

Criteria for Direct Housing is based on the recorded level of damage to the home, the expected duration of displacement and other factors. Households who meet the criteria are contacted by a FEMA applicant services specialist to discuss the current status of their housing plan and eligibility for a FEMA manufactured home.

If a manufactured home is identified as the right solution, the placement process takes time. The timeframe will vary for each individual applicant, as every situation is different.

Pre-disaster homeowners will be offered an option to place a unit on their property; FEMA will also lease pads on commercial parks where available for eligible renters and owners with infeasible sites.

FEMA Housing Assistance, both financial and direct, can be provided for up 18 months for survivors with a continuing need and in adherence to continuing eligibility requirements.

How to DONATE CASH, GOODS, VOLUNTEER

Check WRAL.com’s database for information about road closures, shelters and emergency response for individual North Carolina counties.

MORE POST-STORM WEB RESOURCES

A toll-free legal aid hotline is now available for victims of Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina. Call 1-800-662-7407 to be matched with North Carolina lawyers who have volunteered to provide free legal help. The hotline is available weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Farmers who have an agricultural emergency can call 1-866-645-9403, and can find additional information online.

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