Disaster Resources


More than 22,000 North Carolinians sought refuge at disaster shelters during Hurricane Florence and the devastating flooding that followed. As the disaster shelters close over the next few weeks, households not eligible for FEMA Individual Assistance have no clear path out of disaster shelters.

Back@Home North Carolina is a team of state and local partners implementing a rehousing program to serve those with no path out of the disaster shelters. The team includes the North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services, the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, other state officials, federal advisors, various Managed Care Organizations, and local nonprofits in disaster declared counties.

Hurricane Florence: Leveraging regional organizations to support needs assessment and recovery

By now we all know the state suffered a wallop from Hurricane Florence.  As the water begins to recede, damage assessments are beginning.  This is where the real work to support economic recovery begins.

Regional organizations sit in a unique place to support this recovery.  The regional perspective that comes with leading the development and implementation of CEDS economic development plans, transportation plans, workforce plans and broader engagement with stakeholders can afford a wider lens to the multiple federal, state, regional, foundation, and local partners who have a role in fostering community and economic development.  And this can provide a really effective perspective that can be leveraged to add value to impacted communities following a disaster.  How?  There are multiple actions that can be done, including:

  • Helping impacted communities develop processes to respond to data requests.  As organizations begin to conduct assessments of need following Florence, helping communities develop ways that this information can be saved and accessed by all the community’s key staff can ensure that when similar requests are received through different channels staff are able to leverage previously provided information to reduce burden on employees while also ensuring accuracy and consistency of data provided to multiple partners.
  • Sharing information on procurement requirements.  Helping share information on procurement standards and making this information easily available can be tremendously helpful to local leaders navigating the recovery process.  The NC School of Government has done a tremendous job in making this information available in a streamlined manner for communities through a temporary website available at https://www.sog.unc.edu/resources/microsites/nc-emergency-management/hurricane-florence-information.  As you engage with local leaders in impacted areas, make sure they and their colleagues are fully aware of this critical information.
  • Organize funding and resource opportunities.  Managing the barrage of important information, resources, events, and requirements following a disaster can become a full-time job in and of itself.  Efforts that can help aggregate and synthesize large amounts of information into digestible components for locally impacted communities to easily review, digest, and act on can be valuable .
  • Listening and helping identify appropriate resources.  Following a disaster communities can feel overwhelmed at the magnitude of the activity required for recovery and the number of good organizations committed to supporting recovery and the various requirements and timeframes associated with each.  While some communities are able to navigate this, others – especially the smallest rural communities can find it difficult to know where to start.  Listening to the communities impacted and helping them develop actionable, realistic, concrete project plans can prove critical in helping communities regain capacity following a disaster.

Recovery is a long process and given the magnitude of Florence it will be a long time for some of the hardest hit communities to fully recover.  EDA is committed to partnering with other federal, state, regional and local organizationssupporting long-term economic recovery and is available to discuss infrastructure and technical assistance needs in impacted communities.  To learn more and discuss further, please contact Hillary Sherman at 404.730.013 or hsherman@eda.gov.

How do I find a Federal Disaster Declaration?

You may have heard that a community has been designated for either public assistance or individual assistance from FEMA, and may have noticed the list of counties continues to evolve.  FEMA has made this really easy.  To see an up-to-date list of impacted areas, please go to: https://www.fema.gov/disaster/4393.   The State of North Carolina has also created acomprehensive Hurricane Florence website which includes disaster declarations, as well as status of road closures, available resources, and other disaster related information.  This website can be accessed at https://www.ncdps.gov/florence and a number of partners have collaborated to create a business-oriented website for Florence-impacted areas at http://www.sbtdc.org/hurricaneflorence/.

Process to apply for Federal Disaster Aid


Individual Assistance.
Individuals adversely impacted by Hurricane Florence are strongly encouraged to apply for FEMA federal disaster assistance.  Individuals may apply online at www.disasterassistance.gov or may call the registration phone number at 1-800-621-3362; those who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), please call 1-800-621-3362.

Individuals are encouraged to file a flood insurance claim at https://www.fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim, or to call 1-800-427-4661 EDT and select option two between 8am-6pm M-F to secure answers regarding flood insurance policy questions.  FEMA has issued notification that National Flood Insurance Program policyholders affected by flooding that have a policy up for renewal and that has not yet been paid, there will be 30 days from the date your policy expires in which to pay your premium. Paying your premium by this deadline will ensure that you do not experience a lapse in coverage.

Business Assistance.
Businesses adversely impacted by Hurricane Florence should contact a business counselor near them by calling Business Link North Carolina (BLNC) at 1.800.228.8443 or by visiting www.sbtdc.org/hurricaneflorence to submit a Business Recovery Intake Form. Staff at the BLNC will help firms connect with SBTDC or community college Small Business Center Network to secure develop or update a disaster recovery plan and to support the application process for Rapid Recovery or SBA disaster loans.

SBA disaster loans are an affordable option for those affected by Hurricane Florence.  SBA provides low-interest disaster loans to businesses, nonprofit organizations, homeowners, and renters. Physical damage and economic injury loans of up to $2 million cover uninsured or underinsured losses and help meet financial obligations.

Hurricane Florence Rapid Recovery Loans are being offered through Thread Capital, a subsidiary of NC Rural Center.  These loans are expedited bridge loans that provide up to $50,000 at 0% interest for six months and are intended to provide immediate cash to businesses while they wait for SBA loan or insurance payouts.  For more information or to apply for a loan, please go to: https://www.threadcap.org/.

Economic Development Grant Opportunities:

EDA invites applications for construction and technical assistance; grant resources can be utilized to support the improvement of public assets that will retain jobs in disaster-impacted areas
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) invites applications for  construction, non-construction, planning, technical assistance, and the capitalization or re-capitalization of revolving loan fund projects under EDA’s Public Works program and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs.  Grants made under these programs are designed to leverage existing regional assets and support the implementation of economic development strategies that advance new ideas and creative approaches to advance economic prosperity in distressed communities and create or retain jobs.  Proposals and Applications are accepted throughout the year. To discuss potential projects and learn more, please contact Hillary Sherman at 404.730.3013 or hsherman@eda.gov.  To access information on EDA grant programs, please go to: www.eda.gov.

NC Department of Environmental Quality application deadline extended for fall cycle
The application deadline for the Division of Water Infrastructure’s Fall 2018 funding deadline has been extended to October 31, 2018 due to Hurricane Florence.  For more information and to access application forms, please go to: http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/wi/application-forms.

U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development
The US Department of Agriculture Rural Development Division is seeking applicants for priority points consideration under the Strategic Economic and Community Development (SECD) program. To receive priority points, applicants submit proposals which detail projects supporting regional economic development plans in rural areas. If selected, points will be awarded to listed projects and recognized by USDA for Rural Development funding. Applications are due September 30. For more information and to access application forms, please go to: https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/strategic-economic-and-community-development.

U.S. Department of Labor to provide grant resources to support apprenticeships
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced funding to support apprenticeships under the Scaling Apprenticeships through Sector-Based Strategies program, which is a national initiative that aims to invest approximately $150 through 15-30 projects to increase apprenticeship opportunities in new industry sectors.  Applications are due October 16, 2018.F or more information and to access application forms, please go to:https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=307212.

America Walks announces small grant program to promote walking efforts
America Walks has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Juliet Ashby Hillman Foundation, Lyft, WalkBoston, and others to announce another round of the community change grant program.  This program provides stipends of $1500 for projects related to creating healthy, active, and engaged places to live, work, and play. Projects must be able to demonstrate how they will create healthy, active, and engaging places to live, work, and play. Applications are due November 2, 2018. For more information and to access application forms, please go to:https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSebJhZGsd2mOx0gQ9MDsJNuuy88iWdpfZLMsLN3cY_aEc_UyA/viewform.

NC Realtors Housing Foundation announces grant application to support those impacted by Hurricane Florence
The NC Realtors Housing Foundation has announced the launch of their grant application for those impacted by Hurricane Florence.Applicants are eligible if they are individual adversely impacted by Florence.Recipients of funds will receive grants of up to $1,500 that can be used to cover mortgage or rent costs of a primary residence and that do not need to be repaid.For more information and to access application forms, please go to: http://ncrealtorshf.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Relief-Assistance-Application_NCREALTORS-master_Flo_2018.xlsx.pdf?_cldee=amVzc2ljYUBtYXJ0aW4tbWNnaWxsLmNvbQ%3d%3d&recipientid=contact-a07acdc621994748a9dba4f20c477ff3-bd79ce7562304757ad1bf3b876f007e8&esid=d6579685-fac0-e811-9c22-00155d100653.

Golden Leaf opens Hurricane Florence Relief Fund
Governor Cooper has activated the NC Disaster Relief Fund and asked Golden Leaf Foundation to manage distribution of these funds to eligible projects in affected communities.Applications can be accepted from units of local government or tax-exempt organizations for projects that provide direct relief or recovery for survivors of Hurricane Florence, which are defined under G.S. 166A-19.41.To learn more, please go to: https://www.goldenleaf.org/grant-seekers/disaster-recovery-programs/n-c-hurricane-florence-relief-fund/.

EPA seeks applicants for Local Foods Local Places technical assistance program
EPA is accepting applications from communities seeking technical assistance to help revitalize their economy, improve health, and protect the environment through the Local Foods, Local Places initiative, which specifically focuses on strategies related to revitalizing neighborhoods through the development of local food systems.  Special consideration is being given to Northern Border and Delta region, but applicants in all states are encouraged to apply.   Applications must be received by October 22, 2018.  To learn more, please go to: https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/local-foods-local-places-2018-2019-application.  EPA will host a webinar on the program and selection process on October 4, 2018 from 3-4pm ET.  To register, please go to:https://epawebconferencing.acms.com/lflp-5/event/registration.html.

JP Morgan Chase & Co. Launches Advancing Cities Initiative
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) has announced the launch of Advancing Cities, a $500 million, five-year initiative to advance lasting solutions that will lead to more people connected to jobs with a career pathway and living with financial security, more small business owners growing and hiring, and economically vibrant neighborhoods.  Cities interested in applying for the Advancing Cities Challenge should visit www.jpmorganchase.com/advancingcities.  The RFP went live on September 12, and closes on November 30, 2018.


NC Department of Emergency Management and FEMA to host procurement webinar 
FEMA and the NC Department of Emergency Management will be hosting a procurement webinar on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 1pm.  To participate, please log on at https://fema.connectsolutions.com/rr9vwu55hftk/ and dial 1-800-320-4330 participant code 987582 to join the audio.  Additional procurement webinars and face-to-face trainings are planned over the next three weeks and information is being distributed to county and city managers and emergency managers.

FEMA to hold Debris Webinar 
FEMA will host a webinar on debris removal and monitoring, procurement, and related topics. The webinar will be held Friday, September 28, 2018 at 9am.  To participate, please log on at https://fema.connectsolutions.com/ehptopics/ and dial 1-800-320-4330 participant code 219938 to join the audio.  Additional procurement webinars and face-to-face training are planned over the next three weeks and information are being distributed to county and city managers and emergency managers.

National Good Food Network to host webinar on value chain coordination
The National Good Food Network is hosting a free webinar on using value chain coordination to support food networks and economic development.  The free webinar will be held on September 20, 2018 at 3:30pm ET.  To register, please go to:https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/3681464388956854531?source=ngfn&utm_source=Wallace+Center&utm_campaign=88a77efa5a-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_09_06_07_56&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_11f12f3497-88a77efa5a-92277.

Environmental Finance Center Network to host webinar on strategies small water systems can employ to manage disasters before they occur
The Environmental Finance Center is hosting a free webinar on October 10 from 1-2:30pm entitled “Managing Disasters before Disasters Strike: A Webinar for Small Water Systems.”The webinar will share best practices related to preparing for natural disasters that potentially disrupt water systems. To register, please go to:https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/4539695887749808387.


Federal organizations partner with Columbia University to release datatool on risk from tidal surge and coastal flooding
NOAA, USGS, National Weather Service, and the US Army Corps of Engineers have partnered together with Columbia University to create Floodiq.com, an online data portal that provides a visual risk assessment to coastal communities of various storm levels, and offers projections of the expected sea level rise in the future. The visual nature of the tool, which allows the expected impact to be overlaid with existing public and private property, provides a robust way to assess vulnerabilities, which could be a powerful resource in developing Hazard Mitigation Plans and other local resiliency and development initiatives. To use the tool, please go to: https://floodiq.com/.

NSF inviting ideas to inform future investment
The National Science Foundation has announced the NSF 2026 Idea Machine, a competition to help set the U.S. agenda for fundamental research in science and engineering. Participants can earn prizes and receive public recognition by suggesting the pressing research questions that need to be answered in the coming decade, the next set of “Big Ideas” for future investment by the National Science Foundation (NSF). It's an opportunity for researchers, the public and other interested stakeholders to contribute to NSF's mission to support basic research and enable new discoveries that drive the U.S. economy, enhance national security and advance knowledge to sustain the country's global leadership in science and engineering. Ideas can be submitted between August 31, 2018 and October 26, 2018. To learn more and submit ideas, please go to: https://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/nsf2026ideamachine/index.jsp?WT.mc_id=USNSF_51.

DOL announces new resource to highlight apprenticeship opportunities
The U.S. Department of Labor recently announced the launch of a new digital platform that provides an Apprenticeship Finder tool that offers career seekers a platform to search for apprenticeships by city, state and occupation, as well as connects job-seekers to high-skilled, high-paying careers. The Apprenticeship Finder, a no-cost tool to employers or career seekers, is addressing a need shared by employers who are looking to promote their apprenticeship opportunities and career seekers searching to access them. The new Apprenticeship Finder tool will not only make it easier for career seekers to find apprenticeship opportunities,  it will also help employers promote apprenticeships across new or nontraditional industries where apprenticeships may be less common. To access this tool, please go to: www.apprenticeship.gov.

Deloitte releases new report on workforce strategies
Deloitte Insights this week released the first in a two-part series on workforce reinvention focusing on how state governments can use evidence-based strategies to tailor training programs.  The report, entitled “Reinventing Workforce Development: Making Job Training More Effective,” can be accessed at:  https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/industry/public-sector/workforce-innovation-government-job-training-programs.html.

USDA launches webpage highlighting resources to help rural communities bridge the broadband/e-connectivity infrastructure gap
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue recently unveiled a new webpage featuring information about the importance of rural e-Connectivity and the ways the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is investing to help deploy high-speed broadband infrastructure in rural America. As we all know, Reliable and affordable high-speed internet e-Connectivity acts as a catalyst for rural prosperity by enabling efficient, modern communications between rural American households, farms, ranches, businesses, schools and health care centers. Yet, according to the Federal Communications Commission, 80 percent of the 24 million Americans who lack broadband access live in rural areas and on tribal lands.USDA plays an important role in helping rural communities bridge this infrastructure gap through program investment, strategic partnerships and best practice implementation by investing in rural telecommunications infrastructure. This new website will provide direct access to information on USDA’s decades-long programs that offer more than $700 million per year for modern broadband e-Connectivity in rural communities. In the coming months, USDA will almost double these longstanding programs with an additional $600 million to expand rural broadband infrastructure in unserved rural areas and tribal lands. As they are working to set up the new pilot program, USDA wants to hear the thoughts and needs of Americans living and doing business in rural communities. The new website includes a feedback form for the general public and interested stakeholders to provide input on the design and requirements of the new pilot program. To access this new website, please go to: https://www.usda.gov/broadband.

Strategies to build innovation cities that foster prosperity and job creation
Innovation is one of those words that is bantered around a lot and not always consistently understood. And, many times, the word gets applied almost to justify or elevate ideas or initiatives without being fully considered. Which is why the recent article in Forbes on best practices for building innovation districts is so good. The article offers concrete steps that communities need to do to be innovative. And, interestingly, most of the steps are foundational planning principles that directly align with local comprehensive plans and the regional CEDS plans. The article by Serenity Gibbons entitled “This is the Innovative Component Every City Needs” is an important reminder of the importance of core infrastructure to helping prime opportunity for innovation based work. To read the article, please go to: https://www.forbes.com/sites/serenitygibbons/2018/07/24/entrepreneurs-this-is-the-innovative-component-your-city-needs/?utm_source=Area%2BDevelopment%2BSite%2B%26%2BFacility%2BPlanning%2BNewsletters&utm_campaign=42038268e4-SFP_This_Week_434_CORRECTED&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_94850a8d43-42038268e4-302537441&goal=0_94850a8d43-42038268e4-302537441#5fbc4c8a7eb3.

New Jersey City employs creative planning and investment to limit future flood risk
Hoboken, New Jersey, has created Southwest Park – a 1-acre parcel that has a range of urban-like amenities (restrooms, lighted pathways, dog run, pop-up market zone), all covering porous surfaces and underground network of pipes and tanks that can collect and divert up to 200,000 of stormwater, thereby significantly reducing risk of flood damage. As we begin to assess impacts from Florence and move forward with identifying projects to help foster recovery it may be an interesting model to consider. To learn more, please go to: https://www.routefifty.com/management/2018/09/mitigating-flood-impacts-resiliency-parks/151388/.

NC State Extension has created a website with wide array of resources for individuals, farmers, and business owners
When a natural disaster strikes, individuals and communities often have a myriad of questions to navigate the recovery process.NC State Extension has created a robust website capturing an array of resources, ranging from clarification on tree fall liability under NC law to tips for managing flooded landscapes, to how to choose a home repair contractor or navigate the mental stress of experiencing a disaster. To access the website, please go to: https://ncdisaster.ces.ncsu.edu/.

US DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has maps and tables depicting key information needed to assess Florence impact
US DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics proactively mapped and shared data on the potential number of firms impacted by Florence, by county, and by flood zone level. While the data was created as estimates, it will likely be useful to fill gaps in information to capture and assess the full impact of losses as a result of Florence. To access this information, please go to: https://www.bls.gov/cew/hurricane_zones/maps.htm#NorthCarolina.

NC School of Government has temporary Florence website to share key information
The UNC School of Government has aggregated policy and information on key activities that local governments need to know and follow after a disaster, ranging from procurement to debris staging to FEMA worksheets for expenses. This website is a wealth of information and is a great resource for anyone working on Florence recovery efforts. To access it, please go to: https://www.sog.unc.edu/resources/microsites/nc-emergency-management/hurricane-florence-information.

To learn more about how EDA can support your activities, please contact Hillary Sherman at hsherman@eda.gov or 404.730.3013.

September 27, 2018