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As hurricane season approaches, North Carolina still rebuilding

Posted at 6:10 PM, May 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-23 19:09:19-04

It's been seven months since Jason McLaod and his family have slept in their home. He hopes that day will come soon. McLaod has been putting in a second round of "sweat equity" twenty-some years after the first to get his home livable again.

McLaod lives in a Habitat For Humanity village in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

His home flooded when what was left of Hurricane Matthew came through Fayetteville on Oct. 8.

"This was a nonflood area," McLaod said of his neighborhood.

"When I left out of here the water was this high," he said motioning to his upper chest. "I went to sleep thinking if I wake up maybe the rain would have stopped. But it didn't stop."

Homes throughout Fayetteville and other towns like Lumberton were submerged under at least a few inches of water, some all the way up to the roof.

Many of the Habitat homes are some of the first to be restored because they have had donated materials and labor.

"Everybody who was anybody who had love in their heart came out to help support and bring the community back together again," McLaod said. "A lot of times you want to reach in your pocket and give them something, but it wasn't about the pocket it was all about just give them a hug. Everybody needed a hug around here."

In addition to donations, Habitat says it got help from state funding, but the feds were a different story.

"We feel like the federal government has really let us down," said Tammy Laurence, CEO of Habitat For Humanity of Fayetteville.

Earlier this month, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper received word the federal government would only be providing $6.1 million of the $929 million the state requested.

Laurence called that response a "slap in the face."

She says with more help from the feds, Habitat could have helped more people instead of just its Habitat homes. Laurence said they don't have the budget to do more.

Many homes which were depending on relief money for repairs or buy-outs now sit empty and condemned.

Gov. Cooper says he has invited President Trump and others to come see the damage first hand to understand the unmet needs.

"I'm trying to figure out what kind of state of mind they're in," McLaod said. "That's not love. That's hate. We all deserve that (funding) because it could hit their community tomorrow. Tomorrow's not promised to anyone."

Habitat For Humanity Fayetteville produced a video documenting the devastation from Hurricane Matthew and the road to recovery.

Hurricane season starts again on June 1.