Orange County flood victims closer to state, federal help

tgrubb@newsobserver.comJuly 12, 2013 

Brenda Morris, with N.C. Emergency Management, leads a survey team Tuesday, July 9, 2013, through Camelot Village Apartments on Estes Drive in Chapel Hill. The team included officials from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Orange County, Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The SBA and state Emergency Management will use the information they gathered to decide how much financial help to give local flood victims.

TAMMY GRUBB

  • Help available

    • Residents and business owners affected by the flood can get help from several agencies at the American Red Cross center in University Mall from 1 to 6 p.m. Monday through Sunday. The center is located between Dillard’s and GNC. Or call 919-903-0676.

    • Chapel Hill residents who need flood debris removed can call Public Works at 919-969-5100 to arrange pickup.

    • Anyone who can help flood victims with vacant, long- or short-term rental property is asked to call the Orange County Housing, Human Rights and Community Development Office at 919-245-2490.

  • Flood collection

    St. Thomas More Catholic Church will collect furniture and other household items July 20 for victims of the recent floods.

    The church and the Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Raleigh are working on the relief effort with The Green Chair Project and the Triangle chapter of the American Red Cross.

    Household items, including couches, chairs, bed frames (no mattresses), tables, lamps and other accessories, should be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the church, located at 940 Carmichael St., Chapel Hill.

    The Green Chair Project, a nonprofit that works with regional partners to provide home goods at a low cost to needy families, will hold a simultaneous collection at 1853 Capital Blvd. in Raleigh.

    A list of acceptable items can be found online at http://bit.ly/189NYY8.

    Catholic Charities also will provide need-based assistance to flood victims, from moving furniture to paying security deposits for utility services and new apartments.

    To make a monetary donation, make checks payable to Catholic Charities, 902 Broad St., Durham, NC 27702. Please write “Flood Relief” in the subject line of the check.

— Federal and state officials will decide in the next few days or weeks how much aid local flooding victims might get to help get back on their feet.

“It’s bad,” William Singleton, a representative from the U.S. Small Business Administration, said last week after federal, state and local officials toured the hardest-hit areas.

He declined to comment more specifically but said there’s a real chance that Chapel Hill and Carrboro residents affected by last month’s storm could get help paying for repairs, housing and items they lost. Information about how to apply for a federal SBA loan will be made available once the county receives an emergency declaration.

The state could provide grants to those who don’t qualify for federal low-interest loans, but residents must apply for the federal loan program first, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Capt. Darshan Patel said. The county is working with property managers to determine how many residents lack insurance, he said.

“This is not a lifestyle upgrade,” Patel said. “We want to get them back as close as possible to where they were.”

It’s also possible that nonprofit groups, such as the N.C. Conference United Methodist Men, could bring in volunteers to help rebuild flooded homes, officials said.

In less than two hours June 30, rising floodwaters left the members of at least 150 households homeless. About 140 homes were condemned.

County agencies are helping residents relocate but don’t have enough housing. They especially need short-term rentals – 30 to 60 days – for those whose homes can be repaired.

Anyone in the community with vacant rental property is asked to call the Housing, Human Rights and Community Development Office at 919-245-2490.

Camelot Village resident Cody Pace showed up early Tuesday to get something done about the debris piled outside condemned apartments.

Flies and gnats circled the 4- to 6-foot piles of furniture and other belongings, and mold or mildew covered nearly everything. The smell was overwhelming in the heat.

“There’s not much in there to salvage,” Pace said. “They just need to get together and get this stuff out of here.”

Property manager Joel Duvall, with Joel Duvall Properties, said they were working with the town, and the trash would be picked up soon. Although the Camelot Village Homeowners Association had insurance on the buildings, it does not cover removing personal belongings, he said. Crews have gutted most of the 68 first-floor apartments damaged by flooding. Once they dry out, the apartments will be repaired and rented out again, Duvall said.

Carrboro and Chapel Hill officials said they will waive permitting fees for flood-related repairs. Chapel Hill also plans to waive pickup fees for flood debris. Crews will not collect construction and demolition waste or household hazardous waste, officials said.

Property owners and managers at the Rocky Brook Mobile Home Park in Carrboro said they will repair nearly two dozen trailers that were flooded. The particle-board floors and skirting outside most trailers will be replaced, town inspector Mike Canova said. The electrical wiring also was flooded and will be repaired.

Grubb: 919-932-8746

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