Local News

Johnston County residents face reality of FEMA demolishing their homes

Posted July 19, 2018 5:33 p.m. EDT
Updated July 19, 2018 6:25 p.m. EDT

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is providing $1.5 million to demolish eight homes located in a hazardous flood area in Johnston County.

Tiffanie Wallace lives along Hannah Creek Road with her husband and three girls. Her street still shows damage from Hurricane Matthew.

The hurricane caused the creek to rise by Wallace's house, washing away the foundation of her house and her driveway. Despite the mess, the Wallaces moved back in for several months.

"It's very hard," said Wallace. "It was so nice down here. Everybody kept up their grass. Everybody did neighborly things. And now there's no one here. It's like abandoned."

Three homes by Wallace's are vacant because of the damage.

Residents of Hannah Creek Road can apply for grants so FEMA could buy their homes and bulldoze them. The money for this comes from the Hazard Mitigation Grant, essentially buying residents out of their homes. In some cases, the grant funds will be used to elevate houses to keep the above the floodwater. But for Wallace, her house will have to be bulldozed.

Once they're demolished, no other homes would be built its their place. The land would be turned into green space.

"The properties can be used as greenways. You can plant trees, build a park. But you can never have a livable residence on the property again," said Kevin Hubbard, Johnston County director of emergency services.

He said that demotion will take place over the next few months. and will hopefully be completed by the end of this year.