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Cumberland County Leaders Seek Hurricane Relief Funding From State

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CUMBERLAND COUNTY, N.C. — Cumberland County leaders are asking the state of North Carolina for hurricane relief funding from last year's storms, even though there were no major reports of damage.

While 2004's hurricanes caused major problems in western North Carolina, the eastern part of the state only had brief flooding.

Yet, some residents, such as Lauralynn Mohr say they are still rebounding from the storms.

Mohr says that shingles blew off her roof and that water ruined her back room. Now, she says she needs help finishing the work.

"There's no more funds to finish it; there's just no more," she said.

Cumberland County commissioners have agreed to help people like Mohr. Despite fear of fraud, they voted to ask the state for aid.

"I do not want to deny any resident the opportunity to get the service or assistance that they may so desperately need," said Cumberland County Commissioner Jeanette Council.

The county's Community Development Office will decide which claims are legitimate and then distribute the funding.

"It's very, very difficult to say," said Community Development Director Thanena Wilson. "You can see that there's evidence of damage, but when it occurred is the difficult part."

So far, the office believes that Mohr's claims, and those of 17 other families, are valid.

"They said they can help me finish this, and it is a blessing," Mohr said. "It really is."

County leaders expect others to come forward. When they do, they say they hope safeguards will weed out those who need help from those who do not.

So far, the Community Development Office plans to ask for a total of $356,000. Officials expect the 18 victims to get the funding within 90 days.

The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners' request comes as a fraud investigation is underway surrounding federal funding that went to Bladen County, which felt little or no effects from the 2004 hurricane season.


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