PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - More than 100 people attended an information session for the Cross Creek community in Pender County on Wednesday night.
Representatives from FEMA, the Small Business Administration (SBA), and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) answered residents' questions about Hurricane Florence recovery as best they could.
Congressman David Rouzer hosted the session at Olde Point Country Club in Hampstead.
“You can research as much as you want to get as much information, but that’s general information for events in the past, and everybody’s got an event that’s present to them," said Greg Lovell with the Cross Creek homeowners association. "Nobody has gone through this before. We were in an area that wasn’t a flood zone, and nobody was prepared for it, and no one was prepared to have those answers. And it’s nice we that have people that are stepping up to try and facilitate those answers as best as possible.”
One major point addressed was that an initial denial from FEMA is quite common, but this is an invitation to resubmit and continue the application process.
“Most people I knew, when they got a denial letter, they threw that in the trash and they pretty much saw what they was afraid of, which is a no...there’s no help," said Lovell. "And from the meeting tonight, the denial letter initially doesn’t mean that it’s over. It means it’s the next step.”
Rouzer said he is working with FEMA to try and modify the language in the initial letter to avoid confusion in the future.
Rebecca Kelly, a media relations specialist and spokesperson with FEMA, said the document people see as a denial letter is actually called a determination letter.
“People apply for disaster assistance. You will immediately start to receive correspondence back from FEMA and that letter or email...will come back to you. That’s a determination letter," Kelly said. “It’s based on the answers you provided in the application. Often times people do not complete the application. They don’t write down their social security number” and that results in a denial.
Kelly urged people to visit the disaster recovery center at 801 South Walker Street in Burgaw for help filling out the FEMA application.
The Cross Creek community was hit hard by flooding from Hurricane Florence and many families there lost everything to several feet of sewage-filled floodwaters.