Arguably the most devastating hurricane to afflict North Carolina since Floyd in 1999, Hurricane Matthew resulted in historic flooding along the Lumber and Cape Fear Rivers when it impacted eastern North Carolina in early October 2016. The statistics of Matthew’s impact are sobering.
Thirty-one deaths were attributed to the storm, nearly 100,000 structures were damaged and the storm’s cost was estimated at $1.5 billion.
In response to the devastation, the North Carolina Community Development Initiative (NCCDI) received $3 million from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety to address Matthew’s destruction. NCCDI’s strategy is three-fold:
- Provide direct low-cost loans to rehabilitate or construct affordable housing;
- Establish a loan loss fund to leverage private capital for financing affordable housing and restoring critical community facilities; and
- Use land banking to acquire and hold vacant/distressed housing for future redevelopment as affordable housing.
A team of researchers from the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS), including Senior Research Associate Michael Webb, Associate Director Todd Owen and Research Assistant Sydney Corn, evaluated NCCDI’s disaster recovery work to understand how it has impacted affected communities in eastern North Carolina. This work included developing a theory of change for NCCDI’s activities, which were completed in June 2018, and using the theory of change to guide the evaluation.
The CURS team analyzed data and conducted interviews with key stakeholders to evaluate the short-term success of NCCDI’s work. The data analysis includes the number of affordable housing opportunities rehabilitated or constructed using NCCDI’s funds, and how many of those affordable housing opportunities are outside the 500-year floodplain.
Additionally, the CURS team traveled to eastern North Carolina to interview residents, property managers and local leaders to better understand how NCDDI’s work has impacted their communities.
Both CURS and NCDDI hope the evaluation will allow policy-makers and local leaders to better understand how constructing and rehabilitating affordable housing can impact hurricane-affected communities. NCDDI plans to apply lessons learned from the evaluation as it begins working to aid the recovery from the two 2018 hurricanes—Florence and Michael—that affected North Carolina.
The evaluation report can be viewed here.