New Hope Volunteer Village Update

Update on New Hope Village in New Bern

The New Hope Village is nearly completed and ready to receive volunteer teams! The Neuse Forest Presbyterian Church has converted a storm-damaged educational building into a hosting facility for work teams coming from outside the area to spend the night. Over 5000 hours of volunteer time by hundreds of volunteers from near and far have contributed to the success of the conversion. Here are some pictures from our journey to re-purposing the building.
Without the generous support of the churches of New Hope Presbytery, PDA and countless individuals this project could not have been completed.

This new facility NOW starts to host hundreds of volunteers to help rebuild the homes and lives of those who, in many cases, have lost everything in Hurricane Florence. Our opening the Village enables Presbyterians and communities from across the country to come help. If you want to bring a work team, contact the PDA Call Center at (866) 732-6121 or .

Thank you all for the many blessings, volunteer hours, prayers and support! 
Grace and peace,
John Robinson

CCDRA Hurricane Florence Update

It’s been almost a year and a half since Hurricane Florence devastated our community. Despite the hard work of countless volunteers, many families are still displaced or living in unrepaired homes.

Craven County Disaster Recovery Alliance and other disaster recovery partners are coordinating to assist as many families as possible in hopes of turning their damaged houses back into homes as soon as possible. Contact us to see how your church, family, friends and neighbors can help families still recovering.

New FEMA map adds numerous properties to the flood zone

Source: New Bern Sun Journal, by Bill Hand
Date: January 26, 2020

The floodplains, they are a-changing.

Both Onslow and Craven counties are seeing changes in FEMA floodplain maps that will take effect by June 19. The maps define storm surge and other flooding possibilities in the area. Among other counties affected are Dare, Hyde, Beaufort, Pamlico and Pitt counties, all set to go into effect in June.

The maps use updated hydraulic analysis and models to determine the chance of flooding of different areas during serious storms. On the maps, North Carolina is divided into regions designated as AE, VE, X and Shaded X: if you fall into either of the first two categories, your home or business is in an area with a high likelihood of flooding; if you fall in X or shaded X you are either out of the floodplain, or in a plain that has a much lower chance of flooding in any given storm.

And, in a nutshell, if you live in an AE or VE area and have a mortgage on your home, you’re probably going to be required to buy flood insurance. It also means that you’ll have to jump some possibly expensive hoops if you want to build or do any significant additions.

There are terms to learn as we continue in this article: Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for example. To understand the maps, you have to understand that this is what they determine. BFE is the expected elevation above sea level at which a particular property can expect to flood. In most of Craven County, for instance, that level is considered 11 feet. So, if you live on a property that is 6 feet above sea level, then you’re going to want to find a way to raise your structure so that the floor and any mechanics attached to it (say, duct work and sewer pipes) is 5 feet higher if you want to avoid falling into that expected flood elevation range.

BFE is not actually uniform across the entire map: some areas, such as narrow rivers, are likely to have higher flooding than others. Angie Manning, Onslow County Land Use Administrator said that many areas in the Onslow maps aren’t so much whether you’re suddenly in a flood zone; rather it is the amount of BFE. “There are some places that may stay in a flood zone, but go from 7 to 11 feet,” she said.

Then there’s all those mysterious letters: AE, VE, X and Shaded X – the latter sounding more like something you’d find slinking about in a comic book rather than anything as droll as a FEMA map.

•AE: These properties have, annually, a 1 percent chance of flooding. Most hurricanes won’t result in this happening, but one with a lot of rain, or that approaches in just the right direction and under the right circumstances – like 2018′s Florence – are going to turn your first floor into a wading pool – or worse.

•VE: This is AE on testosterone. Think of as standing for Velocity, Manning said. Everything that applies to AE applies here as well. But it also means the area is prone to heavier wave action and, probably, higher BFE elevations. The added force of waves was illustrated in 2018 with Florence when rising waters tore whole porches from houses and burst open doors despite their being deadbolted along Broad Street in New Bern.

• X: According to FEMA models, buildings here are in little danger of flooding: 0.2 percent per year.

• Shaded X: Your buildings and property are reasonably safe – Shaded X is kind of a gray area between AE and X.

In the last two cases, no flood insurance is required.

In the past the maps were broken up into “100-year storm” and “500-year storm” areas, but FEMA has changed the term because, according to Manning, the term is misleading. “People think it happened in 2018, so it’ll be another hundred years (before a similar storm strikes again),” she said. “But it could happen again next year.”

You might feel like you’ve gotten a raw deal if you are suddenly in an AE or VE zone but, according to Craven County Planning Planner II Jason Frederick, it’s good news, in a way. “I think with the flood maps, what you have is new and better data that comes out.” FEMA “tries to fine tune the flood boundaries, if you will.” He said that FEMA conducted 600 synthetic storms to determine how storms would affect different areas.

He noted that Hurricane Florence had nothing to do with the how the maps were made – in fact, the maps have been in existence for a couple of years. However, he said, Florence reflected the accuracy of the new maps. “If you were to overlay Florence with the new flood maps, it would be very accurate,” he said. “Raleigh is to be commended.”

Those in the AE and VE areas could face more problems than just having to build new first floors at higher elevations or adding insurance: Onslow County Commissioner Jack Bright said the changes “really devastates these property owners… It causes people to have their houses and heat pumps raised,” he added, to match FEMA floodplain guidelines. If new structures are built, they will have to be raised – or the owners may not be able to build at all.

Bright pointed out that many areas that are newly labeled as floodplain are waterfront. “Because it’s a floodplain property, it becomes less valuable and the city loses a lot of tax base,” he said.

Bright said that, in some cases, FEMA refuses to allow homeowners to rebuild in some flood zone areas. “There are properties from Florence where FEMA has bought the properties through the county, then condemned the property as far as the building, and stated the property can never be built on again,” he said. Some residents in Swansboro, he added, were forced to relocate.

One realtor, Steve Tyson of New Bern, however, said he has not seen a major change in real estate prices. “It’s going to impact real estate, but it’s not going to be the end of the world,” he said. “If people like the neighborhood and the house is priced well, they’ll buy it.

“I have sold houses in both Fairfield and River Bend that flooded and sold them after they were fixed up,” he added. They sold at approximately the same value that they were before. I thought it would have a big effect, but it wasn’t so much.”

Tyson’s biggest concern is for the people who will be required to purchase flood insurance, but cannot afford it.

Flood insurance can be costly. But even so, county planners as a rule advise buying it, even if you’re not forced to – and even in you’re in a Shaded X or X area.

The reason? Floods can’t read.

“The maps are just a statistical probability of flooding,” Randy Mundt of the N.C. Floodplain Mapping Program stated in an article recently written by Michelle Wagner for the Carolina Public Press. “Mother Nature does not read our flood map, and we know that… when we have more rain than what we’re predicting, you’re going to see flooding outside of where we map.”

“A flood’s never going to follow the map,” Frederick said. “It’s going to do what a flood’s going to naturally do. Water’s always going to run down hill.”

“What people sometimes don’t know is, even if your home is not in that (flood) zone, you can still get insurance. And the state is pushing for people to get flood insurance.”

Shawn Black, who owns Black’s Insurance in New Bern, said there are differing flood insurance policies, with some naturally more expensive than others, depending on the condition and value of the home, where it is located, and how it meets local codes. An option for flood insurance in X and Shaded X areas is preferred flood insurance, which costs around $500 annually, though the price rises over the years.

Most flood insurance, she said, covers up to $250,000 on a house and $100,000 on its contents.

As to the map changes, “People tend to think the sky is falling, and we want them to talk to us and research it, not freak out,” she said. Black noted that anyone worried or interested in insuring their property should attend a public meeting scheduled by the Neuse River Region Area Realtors (NRRAR) at the Carolina Colours pavilion, New Bern, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on April 7. A representative of the North Carolina State Hazard Mitigation office will give an overview of rules and options.

Frederick said that the new map has made significant changes in much – but not all – of Craven County. No houses were added to or removed from the flood plain in Cove City, Dover or Vanceboro. In unincorporated areas of the county, more properties were removed (438) than added (331): a net difference of 107.

Other areas found more properties being added, however:

• River Bend, 61 were added and none removed.

• Trent Woods, 73 were added and 29 removed.

• Havelock, 13 were added and four removed.

• Bridgeton, 53 were added and none removed.

The biggest change is to New Bern were 1,082 buildings were added and only one removed.

The best way to find out your status, Frederick said, is to access the maps online.

A good source for this is “It’s fairly user friendly,” Frederick said. Click the map of North Carolina and enter your full address in the upper left corner. Shaded yellow areas are Shaded X; AE is shaded blue; VE is shaded green. On the right side of the window will be a button titled “Effective.” That is the current map. To see how you fare come June, click that button to show “Preliminary.”

The planning office can also be reached at 252-636-2146.

Craven County Public Hearing on use of Federal Disaster Mitigation Funds

Oct. 3, 2019

State to hold public hearings on use of federal disaster mitigation funds – Hearing scheduled for Craven county

RALEIGH−ReBuild NC, the state’s long-term disaster recovery program, will hold a public hearing in CRAVEN COUNTY to receive public comment and input on a draft action plan for spending $168 million in Community Development Block Grant–Mitigation funding allocated to North Carolina by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Under federal guidelines, the funds must be used to implement community projects that strengthen local infrastructure and reduce future losses in areas impacted by hurricanes Matthew and Florence.

“These funds will help communities coordinate local planning activities and projects that will make them more resilient in the face of future storms,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “It’s important for people to have an opportunity to weigh in and learn how communities can rebuild smarter and stronger.”

Interactive sessions and presentations planned for the hearing will include information on what mitigation is and how the HUD mitigation funding may be used. People who attend will also have an opportunity to provide public comments and ask questions of state mitigation experts. Craven County’s Public hearing date and location follows:

Craven County
6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16
Grover C. Fields Middle School
Performing Arts Center
2000 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard
New Bern, NC 28560

At the hearing, doors will open at 6 p.m. and presentations will begin at 6:30 p.m. People who would like to provide public comments will be given three minutes to speak. Those wishing to speak are encouraged to bring a written copy of their comments to the hearing. Written public comments may also be submitted by email to or by mail to P.O. Box 110465, Durham, NC 27709. Anyone needing special accommodations at a public hearing should call 984-833-4344 or send an email to: For additional information, please visit the ReBuild NC website.


Congratulations Steve Tyson

Today at the Craven Community College Foundation’s 9th Annual Community Fabric Awards, Steve Tyson received the 2019 Community Fabric Award for Individual Leadership. Steve has spent countless hours since Hurricane Florence helping families recover, through his leadership with CCDRA and through his knowledge and compassion with each individual in need.

We are grateful for his work on the CCDRA Board of Directors and all he does for our community!

Update to Step Program

From NC DPS on April 16, 2019

North Carolina Extends STEP Program to Repair More Homes Damaged by Hurricane Florence 202 More Families to Return Home Thanks to Partial, Temporary Repairs

More families will soon be able to return home while they work to rebuild from Hurricane Florence thanks to an extension of a program to provide partial housing repairs, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.

The original Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) program implemented with funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) wrapped up in early April with repairs completed on more than 2,100 homes. Using state funds, North Carolina is extending the program to 202 additional single-family homes in 12 counties. The program provides partial repairs at no cost to homeowners so Hurricane Florence survivors can return to and remain in their homes while longer-term repairs continue. 

“People want to be able to live in their own homes while they work to recover from Hurricane Florence,” Gov. Cooper said. “We’ve expanded this program to make it possible for more North Carolina families to get home faster.” 

The original STEP program provided repairs to homes with up to $17,000 in damage. The 202 homes included in the second phase of STEP applied for the original program but had slightly more damage. North Carolina Emergency Management stepped in using state funds to include these additional homes.

Work crews from Baptists on Mission, the North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church and four general contracting companies are currently making repairs to the 202 homes in Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties.

Hurricane Florence survivors who still face long-term housing issues are urged to participate in the Disaster Case Management program. The state has contracted with experienced case managers who will work in conjunction with faith-based and volunteer organizations to help meet survivors’ needs.

To connect with a disaster case manager, Hurricane Florence survivors can email or call one of two regional offices listed below:

  • Residents of Anson, Bladen, Brunswick, Chatham, Columbus, Cumberland, Durham, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Lee, Moore, New Hanover, Orange, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland and Union counties should call the Fayetteville office at 910-672-6175
  • Residents of Beaufort, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Hyde, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Wayne and Wilson counties should call the Jacksonville office at 910-378-4913

There are additional state and federal programs which are either underway or awaiting funding to assist Hurricane Florence survivors. FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program helps eligible homeowners and local governments to rebuild, elevate or buy out flooded properties.

North Carolina is waiting for notification from Washington on another major program that will help with Hurricane Florence housing recovery, the federal Community Development Block Grant−Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program, funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In October 2018, Congress passed legislation appropriating CDBG-DR funds for Florence and several other natural disasters, but North Carolina does not yet know what share of the funds it will receive or the rules for using those funds to help with long-term recovery.

The state Department of Health and Human Services is also assisting hurricane survivors with housing solutions through its Back@Home NC program. The initiative assists families who were not eligible for FEMA assistance to transition to safe and stable housing. To date, more than 200 families have moved to permanent housing through the program. 

Contractor Fraud – What you should know!

Disaster Repair

Most contractors and tree removal companies in North Carolina are good business people, and many local merchants pitch in to help their community recover from a disaster. However, some scammers travel to areas that have been hit by storms and other disasters to take advantage of consumers.    Follow these tips to avoid trouble with home repair after a disaster:

  • Be Safe. Do not attempt to move downed power lines. Call your utility company immediately for assistance.
  • Contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies require an adjuster’s approval before work can be done. Take pictures and videos, if possible, of the damage. Cover holes in your roof or walls with a tarp if you can do so safely to prevent additional damage.
  • Do not pay for work up front. Inspect the work and make sure you are satisfied before you pay. A reasonable down payment may be required for some projects, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Avoid paying with cash; use a check or a credit card instead.
  • Beware of any contractor who tries to rush you or who comes to your home offering assistance. If an offer is only good “now or never,” find someone else to do the work. Avoid contractors, including roofers, who go door-to-door offering services. Instead, get recommendations from friends, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had work performed on their homes recently.
  • Get three written estimates for the work, if possible, and compare bids. Check credentials and contact the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the contractor. Ask to get the contractor’s certificate of insurance directly from their insurance company, not from the contractor.  Before work begins make sure you get a written contract that lists all the work to be performed, its costs and a completion date. Read the contract and make sure it includes any verbal promises you may have received from the contractor. Services like cleaning or storage of your belongings often come with extra charges, which can really add up depending on the length of storage.
  • Watch out for price gouging. Under North Carolina law, businesses cannot charge too much for goods or services when a disaster, an emergency or an abnormal market disruption for critical services has been declared or proclaimed by the Governor.  Under the law, the Attorney General’s Office can put a stop to price gouging and seek refunds for consumers who paid too much. The courts may also impose civil penalties against price gougers of up to $5,000 for each violation.

We Can Help   If you have a complaint about disaster repair or price gouging or need to check out a contractor, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

“Getting through the Holidays: A Seminar Dealing with Loss after the Hurricane”

Saturday, December 1, 2018

The upcoming holidays can be a difficult time for those who are experiencing  loss after Hurricane Florence.  Loss of treasured items full of holiday memories may make this holiday season especially challenging.  On Saturday, December 1, “Getting through the Holidays:  A Seminar Dealing with Loss after the Hurricane” will cover topics listed below.  The seminar is free & open to all in the community.

“Why Might the Holidays be Difficult after Hurricane Florence?”

 “Tips for Managing Holiday Emotions”

“How to Create a Plan for Approaching the Holidays”

WHEN:                         Saturday, December 1st from  9:30 AM – 12:00 Noon

WHERE:                      Centenary United Methodist Church,  309 New St; New Bern, NC 28560

FACILITATORS:       Pam Bonina, Grief Share Facilitator and Rev. Barbara Bornemann, Retired Pastor/Hospice Chaplain

REGISTRATION:    Please register by Mon, Nov. 26 by email or phone: or (252) 637-4181


This seminar is free!   If you know someone who has experienced loss after the hurricane, please invite them to attend.  All are welcome!

Hurricane Stress Help

Thanks to the hard work of our Spiritual & Emotional Care Committee the following information will be included in backpack blessings.  Please share this information with anyone feeling stress from Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Stress/Hurricane Help  

Are you or your children having trouble:

* eating  *  sleeping/having nightmares   *  doing chores/homework   *   trusting

people  *  enjoying everyday activities   * feeling unsafe   *   keeping your cool/

managing anger  *  feeling down or hopeless/crying

Need help now?

Call 1-877-685-2415 (Mobile Crisis  Unit) or 9-1-1 in an emergency

Need to Talk to Someone?

Pastoral Counseling Hotline:

1-800-525-5683 (K-Love)

Distress Hotline for Counseling &  Support:


 Call 2-1-1 to get information about local resources