LUMBERTON — The Lumberton City Council took a step Wednesday toward making it cheaper for storm-struck families to furnish their homes.
Under the proposal, families can receive a mattress, box spring and household furniture through the Fayetteville-based charity Designing Station.
The council, meeting as the Policy Committee, voted to use donated dollars so residents can use the service at no cost. The $20,000 that is available was raised through a Gofundme.com campaign that began after Hurricane Matthew on Oct. 8 and during this past weekend’s Rumba on the Lumber.
The council must give final approval on Monday during its regular meeting.
Since the October storm, about 400 Lumberton residents have applied for housing assistance and about 245 families are still stranded in motels, City Manager Wayne Horne said. One of the challenges has been getting their homes furnished as they slowly return to permanent housing.
“I think the furniture bank is one of the best things I have seen to help people who have been displaced by the storm because it helps people put enough furniture in their house to live,” Mayor Bruce Davis said. “Even though it is not a complete furnishing, it is something in every room.”
Case managers at the Department of Social Services are prepared to complete applications for people who qualify at the Disaster Recovery Center, located in the old Kmart building at 2750 N. Roberts Ave.
The city is also managing a warehouse at 2300 N. Cedar St. where families can go to get household items such a appliances, beds and furniture. The warehouse is in need of donations, especially linens, cleaning supplies, dishes and pots and pans.
In other business, council members:
— Learned the city has been allocated $150,000 to apply toward the rehabilitation of at least three houses. The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency, under the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool for Disaster Recovery, has provided the money for eligible owner-occupied homes that were damaged during Hurricane Matthew.
Property owners can apply for a grant of up to $40,000 in construction costs. An applicant must own and occupy the residence to be eligible. Applications can be picked up from Teresa Johnson, Community Development administrator, at City Hall.
— Approved a request from the Lumberton Police Department to buy six digital video recording systems at a cost of $32,217.90.
— Approved a request from the Electric Utilities Department to buy a dump truck. The 2017 Ford F750 will be bought from Piedmont Truck Center for $79,644. This year’s capital budget already included an $80,000 line item for the truck’s purchase.
— Awarded Jonathan Stanley a contract not to exceed $39,000 to crush the estimated 5,000 tons of concrete debris temporarily stored at the city’s landfill on Saddletree Road. The concrete debris has been recovered from various Public Works projects during the past two years.
— Approved the demolition of houses at 58 National Ave. and 210 E. Fifth St. that have been deemed unsafe.
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly