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NC Emergency Management Director Addresses Delay In Hurricane Matthew Relief

a flooded road after Hurricane Matthew
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina's director of emergency management said the pace of distributing federal relief funds to Hurricane Matthew victims will pick up soon.

Mike Sprayberry has had to respond to criticism from elected officials, including House Speaker Tim Moore (R-Cleveland). Moore this week tapped a committee to investigate the delay in paying out around $235 million worth of Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Sprayberry said part of the problem is that his division has never dealt with these HUD grants before. Until 2016, the state Department of Commerce administered these HUD block grant relief funds.

Sprayberry also said storm victims must go through a lengthy application process to receive the HUD grants, with documents that can be hard to find in a storm-battered home.

"You have to be able to prove that you were living in the house at the time that Hurricane Matthew hit," Sprayberry said. "You have to be able to prove that the damages were a result of Hurricane Matthew. You have to provide the tax records and things like that. I mean there's a lot of stuff."

Sprayberry says emergency management already has distributed $739 million dollars to communities affectd by the 2016 storm.

Rusty Jacobs is WUNC's Voting and Election Integrity Reporter.
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