NEWPORT — Carteret Long Term Recovery Alliance is partnering with a national disaster response group to find residents with unmet repair needs resulting from Hurricane Florence.

World Renew Disaster Response Services, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., has opened two county centers for those needing assistance. The centers opened Monday and will remain open through Friday, May 24 at Newport Baptist Church and Grace Presbyterian Church in Beaufort. Hours vary at each location.

In addition, the group has assessment teams going door-to-door in the Down East and Newport communities, conducting disaster needs assessment surveys. If residents aren’t at home, a flier will be left about the program.

The goal, according to CLTRA board chairman the Rev. Robbie Phillips, is to develop a database of residents, along with their specific needs, then match volunteer work teams to make the repairs as funds and volunteers are available.

“We’re seeking to meet the needs not addressed by (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), and also seeking to assist people who didn’t file with FEMA but still have needs,” Rev. Phillips said Tuesday.

CLTRA is a nonprofit alliance of volunteers from community service organizations, local government, nongovernment organizations and faith communities. The group was created following Hurricane Florence, which caused widespread damage in the county Sept. 13-14.

Ms. Phillips said CLTRA currently has 160 families on a waiting list, with priority given to the disabled, elderly and families with special needs children.

Another goal of the community assessments is to establish if there’s enough need to warrant World Renew Disaster Response Services establishing a recovery center in the county. The organization, which provides emergency services, needs assessments and disaster recovery services across the nation, currently has a recovery center in Tarboro and has done work in New Bern.

“They’ve had a recovery center in Tarboro for three years and they are starting to shut that center down, and we’re hoping they will move that operation to our area to work in Carteret and Craven counties,” Rev. Phillips said.

World Renew Disaster Response Services team leader Nelson Stowell said the decision to locate a recovery center in the county will be determined by the group’s headquarters in Grand Rapids and based on survey results.

For now, 15 World Renew volunteers from the U.S. and Canada will be busy over the next two weeks meeting with Carteret County families to assess their needs.

“When FEMA leaves, we know there is still a lot of work to be done,” Mr. Stowell said. “We have to be invited before we will come in, and Robbie and her group had contacted us. We’re hoping people will fill out the forms and that we can assist them.”

Rev. Phillips said CLTRA sent out notices about the community assessments to the 8,960 residents who applied for FEMA assistance, as well as through the county school system, which has assisted families that suffered damage from the storm.

In the meantime, Rev. Phillips said CLTRA continues to organize work teams to help those needing repairs and is in need of volunteers.

“We just arranged for work teams from Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and Camp Lejeune to come in, and we encourage churches and groups to organize volunteer teams. We’ll provide the jobs and supplies,” she said.

The group also helps with replacement of household items lost during the storm, mold removal, urgent medical care and other needs.

Rev. Phillips said thanks to two grants awarded Wednesday, CLTRA plans to hire an executive director and five AmeriCorps workers to assist families, as well as provide assistance to those needing to replace lost items.

“We hope to have the executive director and workers in place by July,” Rev. Phillips said.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance presented a $74,000 check to CLTRA, and Unitarian Coastal Fellowship in Morehead City presented a $50,000 check through its Unitarian Universalist Association.

Those wanting to complete a community needs assessment at one of the two temporary centers should bring their FEMA identification number if they have one. The center hours are:

•    Grace Presbyterian Church: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday; 9 a.m. to noon Saturday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday, May 22; and 9 a.m. to noon Friday, May 24.

•    Newport Baptist Church: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday; 9 a.m. to noon Friday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, May 23.

Those interested in volunteering with CLTRA can call 252-723-7274 or go to its website, carteretltra.org.

Tax-deductible monetary donations are also welcome to assist families. CLTRA is a fiscal partner of the United Way of Coastal Carolina. Those wanting to make donations can make checks out to CLTRA and mail them to CLTRA, P.O. Box 543, Morehead City, NC 28557.

Contact Cheryl Burke at 252-726-7081, ext. 255; email Cheryl@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @cherylccnt.

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