Polk mudslide victims to receive relief

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Foothills Housing Partnership to help 10 properties with $15,000

COLUMBUS—The Polk County Board of Commissioners has decided to grant the $15,000 it was given during the May mudslides to Foothills Housing Partnership, in order to help 10 properties repair damage.

Commissioners met Monday and approved giving the money it received from PSNC and Duke Energy to the partnership.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We got around $15,000 from PSNC and Duke Energy combined, and earmarked it for disaster relief,” said County Manager Marche Pittman. “Now we have the opportunity to use some of that money to help folks who can’t make improvements.”

Foothills Housing Partnership Executive Director David Graham

Foothills Housing Partnership Executive Director David Graham, representing Thermal Belt Outreach, spoke to commissioners about how the group can help.

Graham said he and Outreach Executive Director George Alley have spoken and identified 10 victims who need repairs and do not qualify for other assistance.

“We’ve been working on this aid program about a month with Outreach,” Graham said.

He said the North Carolina Baptist Men made a list of people in need and when that organization finished volunteering, there were 10 people who still needed help. Graham said the plan is to give each property in need up to $1,500.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson said he is appreciative of Pittman, and the county could not have asked for a better working relationship than it has had with the partnership.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Gasperson.

Commissioner Vice Chair Myron Yoder said he can vouch for all the hard work the Foothills Housing Partnership does.

“What I really appreciate that it’s people from Polk County helping people from Polk County,” Yoder said.

Severe rains struck the county in May, with a deadly mudslide on U.S. 176 on May 18. The county received an estimated more than 20 inches of rain in just two weeks in May, with three people being killed in the Valley of Tryon; one in a mudslide on May 18 and two others on May 28 when a tree fell on their vehicle.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency in Polk County shortly after the events and is still waiting to hear if the disaster qualifies for federal assistance.