What is STEP?
- Sheltering and Temporary Essential Power (STEP) is a program managed by the State of North Carolina that provides homeowners with limited, temporary repairs to make a home safe, clean and secure for emergency sheltering.
- This allows homeowners whose dwellings are currently uninhabitable to shelter in their damaged homes while longer-term repairs continue, meaning people can return to work and school in their communities.
Who makes the repairs? Do I have to do it, or find a contractor?
- Depending on the level of damage to the home, the State will coordinate temporary and partial repairs to be done by either a voluntary disaster relief organization or a contractor selected and managed by the State.
What does STEP do?
- STEP will make minor exterior repairs to ensure the windows, roof and exterior doors are secure and weatherproof; protection is provided from interior hazards such as exposed electrical wires; and access to entrances are safe.
- This may include insulating, tarping or patching the roof and repairing walls; securing broken windows, and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged exterior doors.
- The home’s essential utilities and plumbing will be made safe and operational, and there will be a basic functional bathroom and kitchen facilities—including one useable bathroom vanity, sink, shower/bathtub, toilet and tank; a base cabinet under the kitchen sink, a minimal countertop for food preparation, minimal refrigeration and cooking appliances, and a working kitchen sink.
What does STEP not do?
- STEP will not return homes to their pre-disaster condition.
- It will not make repairs that go beyond those listed above to make the home habitable, and it will not repair damage that was not caused by Hurricane Florence.
Who is eligible for STEP?
- STEP is available to eligible homeowners in Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pender and Robeson counties whose dwellings are currently uninhabitable.
- The home must be an owner-occupied, single-family dwelling that is structurally sound and be able to be restored to a suitable and safe shelter for no more than $17,000.
- Modular or mobile homes on permanent foundations considered real property by the local government can be considered under STEP.
- Second homes, rental properties, multi-family homes, and mobile homes that are not registered as real properties for tax purposes are not eligible.
- Based on the complexity of work and the capacity of volunteer organizations, some properties will be referred to voluntary relief organizations for the repair work. Properties requiring more extensive or specialized repairs may be referred to a contractor selected by the State.
- Once STEP repairs are completed homeowners will no longer be eligible for FEMA Direct Housing in a trailer or manufactured housing unit, or for Transitional Sheltering Assistance in a hotel.
How do I apply for STEP?
- You don’t apply for STEP. Eligible homeowners were pre-identified from the list of those who have applied for FEMA assistance. If you registered for FEMA assistance, and you were then identified as a candidate, you should have received a call, text or e-mail to determine your interest and verify your eligibility.
- Only homeowners who registered for disaster assistance with FEMA were considered for STEP. Nearly 15,800 homeowners were identified as candidates.
How do I determine if I may be eligible?
- If you believe that you have received a call, e-mail or other contact attempt call 833-257-1100, Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- More information about the STEP program is available at www.ncdps.gov/florencestep.
How does the STEP process work?
- Homeowners who have damage to their homes and are eligible to participate will receive text messages, emails, and phone calls asking if they want to participate in the STEP program.
- The homeowner must sign a Right of Entry (ROE) agreement authorizing the inspector and contractor/voluntary relief organization to repair the home. No work can start until the homeowner signs the Right of Entry agreement.
- Eligible homeowners must sign a ROE form by Jan. 17, 2019.
- Eligible homeowners can complete an ROE at www.ncstepflorence.com. You will need to create an account using your 9-digit FEMA registration number.
- At this point, an inspector will visit the home to see the damage and determine what repairs are needed to make it safe, clean and secure for emergency sheltering.
- The repairs will then be assigned to either a contractor or voluntary relief organization for work. Work will be scheduled and repairs will begin.
- There may be additional inspections needed to meet permitting requirements or local codes.
- Once repairs are complete, an inspector will meet with the homeowner to perform a final walkthrough of the home to ensure the temporary repairs are complete and make the home safe, clean and secure for emergency sheltering. Photos will be taken to record completed work.
Do I have to pay anything for STEP?
- The homeowner is not required to pay anything to participate in the STEP program.
- The cost of the program is being shared by the State and FEMA