FEMA approves housing alternatives for NC residents during coronavirus pandemic

FEMA approves housing alternatives for NC residents during coronavirus pandemic
COVID-19 map in North Carolina (Source: NCDHHS)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - North Carolina will provide housing alternatives for residents with unstable housing who may need to quarantine in response to COVID-19, or for residents who are at high-risk for severe illness from the virus.

Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that the state received approval from FEMA to provide housing alternatives, such as hotels, motels and dorms for residents.

“North Carolinians without stable housing still need places to go if they are have a mild case of COVID-19 or need to quarantine after being exposed to the virus,” Cooper said. “These types of alternatives will help people who have no other safe options to self-isolate or social distance while we slow the spread of this virus.”

The state plans to work with local partners to provide more than 16,500 units of individual housing to:

  • People who test positive for COVID-19 and need to be isolated but do not require hospitalization, including those discharged from hospitals. 
  • People exposed to COVID-19 and identified by a health care professional as needing quarantine but do not hospitalization. 
  • People needing social distancing as a precautionary measure, as determined by public health officials, particularly for high-risk groups such as people over 65 or with certain underlying health conditions such as respiratory illness, compromised immunities or chronic disease. This may include those whose living situation makes them unable to adhere to social distancing guidance.

Through FEMA, the federal government will pay 75 percent of the costs associated with operating the sheltering program. North Carolina will pay the remaining 25 percent.

Funding will include the cost of all supporting infrastructure, such as electricity and waste disposal, as well as other services such as laundry, food, cleaning and security.

The hospitality industry and other private-sector partners will be critical in facilitating the non-congregate sheltering program, Cooper says. Hotels, motels, colleges, universities and other facilities that may be able to serve as non-congregate facilities can email BEOC@ncdps.gov.

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