Cabinet secretaries check out Florence relief efforts

Cabinet secretaries check out Florence relief efforts

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Two members of President Trump’s Cabinet toured Wilmington and Whiteville on Monday, looking at Hurricane Florence relief efforts.

Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and Housing Secretary Ben Carson joined local and state lawmakers for the tour, which included a meeting with local Best Buy employees who volunteered during Florence’s aftermath. Best Buy remains closed due to damage suffered during Florence.

The federal government has already OK’ed more than $1.1 billion in federal disaster money to North Carolina in the wake of Florence.

N.C. Senator Thom Tillis said the need in North Carolina is well defined and residents should not feel government resources are now shifting to Florida and Georgia, both states hard hit by Hurricane Michael.

“I have every confidence North Carolina wills stay on the map” said Tillis. “We’ll move forward with supplemental funding and we’ll get the resources we need to rebuild.”

The government paperwork needed to file for benefits can be overwhelming. That frustration was echoed to Monday’s delegation. Secretary Acosta wanted to emphasis there’s relief money available for people who qualify and now find themselves unemployed because of this deadly storm.

“The dislocated labor grants are available if more funding is needed. The Department of Labor will support the state with respect to dislocated workers,” said Acosta. “That applies even to individuals who are self-employed, who typically aren’t eligible for unemployment."

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo and several council members were also at Monday’s gathering.

“Anytime you have the eyes and ears of Washington on the ground, it’s a good thing,” said Saffo. “We need Washington to know we have a need. A priority has to be get people into housing, who have been displaced by this storm.”

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