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Local Family So Close, Yet So Far From Hurricane Relief Aid

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Two miles is all that separates a Wake County family from help to rebuild after Hurricane Isabel.

The family's home is just inside the Wake County-Granville County line. But here's the snag: Granville County is a federal disaster area. Wake County is not.

As a result, a family so close to help also seems so far away from it.

Bill Roy remembers the layout of his home before Isabel tore it apart.

"This used to be our bedroom and a back porch," Roy said, looking at his badlly damaged home. "You can tell where the door was to the back bedroom.."

Inside Roy's home, the damage was just as devastating.

Roy had hoped for and expected to get federal help. People living in Granville County just a couple of miles away are eligible for federal disaster assistance.

But the Roys live in Wake County, where storm victims are not eligible.

Roy and his wife, Angie, work in Granville County. Their home is within two miles of the county line. But because their home is just inside the Wake County line, Isabel relief programs do not apply.

"Wake County did not have enough impact to qualify for the federal declaration," said Ken Taylor, the state coordinator for disaster relief efforts.

Roy not only was turned down for federal aid, but the Red Cross also told him it had run out of money.

Meanwhile, Roy is running out of patience.

"Just because I don't live down by the coast, and just because our county doesn't have billions of dollars in damages, they are going to tell me: 'Sorry, Charlie,'" Roy said.


Federal Emergency Management Agency

has agreed to take another look.

"The key thing is that he registered already," Taylor said about Roy. "We are using his name, along with other people's names in Wake County, to help in justifying potential requests to FEMA about getting the county declared for individual assistance."

Just this week, FEMA added 10 other counties to the Isabel disaster list, and there could be more to come.

Disaster assistance coordinators point out there are a number of volunteer agencies that are willing to help victims.


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