Gov. Cooper discusses Matthew recovery in Lumberton

Gov. Cooper discusses Matthew recovery in Lumberton

LUMBERTON, NC (WMBF) – North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper was in Lumberton Tuesday to meet with local officials on Hurricane Matthew recovery.

At 6:30 p.m., Gov. Cooper delivered remarks before Robeson County's Committee of 100, a business league based in Lumberton. More than 400 people listened to Governor Roy Cooper speak at the Southeastern Agricultural and Farmers Market Center. People from the Public Schools of Robeson County, Ecenomic Development, the housing authority and the key industry leaders came to listen.

The speech was Governor Cooper's fifth spot of the day he visited. Cooper visited around the county to check in on progress being made and visit people. He said, "This storm was devastating. No hurricane can be named Matthew again because this storm was so bad."

Cooper said the challenges now seem even greater, but when disaster comes, he wants people to pull together. The Governor said 120 roads were closed after the storm and now only two are closed. He said he wants people to know he is working on federal and state funding to make sure tax payers are protected and the money is going into the right hands. Governor Cooper says this storm has put a spotlight on the issue of affordable housing, which is a problem he says existed beforehand.

"We want to use this opportunity to shine a light on this problem to provide help. We have petioned congress for another round of funding our latest proposal was about 925 million dollars. That was pared down. The needs are greater than that," said Cooper.

Cooper said a total of 260 public housing facilities were destroyed. During Cooper's tour he visited volunteer Billy Layton with Baptist Ministries who helps rebuild homes. For the past four months disaster relief volunteers have been working on one woman's home who did not have flood insurance. Layton is the Lumberton Site Coordinate who said he wanted Cooper to see firsthand where funding needs to go. "So depending on what the actual home is its anywhere from maybe as little as four or five thousand dollars but most is fifteen twenty thousand dollar funding gap in there. So just trying to figure out extra programs or grant money to fill those gaps," Layton said.

The slogan at for the banquet dinner was "We are Robeson Strong" Governor Cooper wanted people throughout his visit to know that progress is underway.

Cooper said Congress has approved $198 million dollars to focus on the devastated areas. Robeson, Cumberland, Wayne and Edgecome counties are targeted to receive 80 percent of that funding.

"There are great things in Robeson County, not only the location but the people. The diversity, and there are strong people here, your slogan is right, people believe in being strong in Southeastern North Carolina."

Governor Cooper says he and his staff will be back continually to visit the county and check in on recovery in Robeson County.

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