LRCOG News & Updates
Our Mission
"In its dedication to regional excellence, the Lumber River Council of Governments is
proactive in identifying local and regional needs and the resources to address
those needs in an effective and fair manner."

Are you curious about how many people in your town are responding to the 2020 Census?
As of May 14, 2020

National Self-Response- 59.1%
NC Self-Response- 55.3%
Bladen County - 40.6%
Bladenboro - 38.6%
Clarkton - 25.9%
Dublin - 10.5%
East Arcadia - 43.3%
Elizabethtown - 46.6%
Tar Heel - 17.1%
White Lake - 11.0%

Hoke County - 50.9%
Raeford - 52.7%

Richmond County - 46.1%
Dobbins Heights - 36.3%
Ellerbe - 22.2%
Hamlet - 47.9%
Hoffman - 38.4%
Norman - 12.5%
Rockingham - 49.9%
Robeson County - 42.3%
Fairmont - 47.3%
Lumber Bridge - 23.9%
Lumberton - 44.3%
Marietta - 36.0%
Maxton - 38.4%
McDonald - 54.8%
Orrum - 22.0%
Parkton - 31.3%
Pembroke - 30.5%
Proctorville - 27.4%
Red Springs - 44.1%
Rennert - 39.8%
Rowland - 24.8%
St. Pauls - 47.2%

Scotland County - 50.1%
Gibson - 33.2%
Laurinburg - 53.0%
Wagram - 33.6%
Opening Up America Again

President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps will help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.
North Carolina
Phase 1 remains in effect
" more time needed to watch key indicators"
Governor Cooper Signs COVID-19 Relief Bills Into Law
Calling for Health Professionals to Volunteer

North Carolina is recruiting volunteers and companies to supplement our health care workforce. Hundreds of people have already signed up to help, and we need more. This includes clinical providers such as doctors and nurses, clinical support such as pharmacy and imaging and respiratory care, and facility maintenance and administrative support. If you fit into one of these categories, go to   to learn more about how you can help. Health care professionals can also go to .
COVID-19 Drinking Water Resources including Building Flushing Guidance

On May 5, Governor Cooper announced the implementation of Phase 1 of a three-phase approach to re-open the State. Phase 1 allows the opening of non-essential businesses and retail stores, which will likely include reopening buildings that have been completely shut down or that have been used on an infrequent basis. Under such conditions, degradation of water quality can occur where water has remained stagnant in pipes, tanks, appliances and other water-using features. Flushing to clear out the low quality water and replace it with higher quality water is an effective strategy to mitigate issues from stagnant water.  

To assist water systems, the Public Water Supply Section has created a website containing guidance for building flushing as well as other COVID-19 related resources.
Legislative Update Webinar Part 1

A webinar updating local government officials on the new legislative session starting in May 2020.
Webinar- The Long and Winding Road to Recovery
May 19 at 2 p.m. ET

Much uncertainty lies ahead as communities and regions begin to recover from the economic shock of the COVID-19 pandemic. Though there is no playbook for this current situation, lessons learned from other long-term recovery efforts can serve as a foundation to plan for the future.  

Join the NADO Research Foundation on May 19 at 2 p.m. ET as we host Erik Pages, founder of EntreWorks Consulting, for a presentation about how communities can recover from economic shocks over the long-term. Lessons shared will draw on strategies from recovering from a natural disaster, a unique event like a military base closure, or from a major industry downturn, such as the ongoing decline of the coal industry. 

Topics will include:
  • Economic diversification
  • Business assistance
  • Talent development
  • Improved infrastructure and amenities, and more
Rural Talk: An Advocacy Speaker Series

Rural Talk: An Advocacy Speaker Series is a 5-part webinar series hosted by the NC Rural Center’s advocacy program, Rural Counts. Rural Talk brings together the voices, expertise, and perspectives from thought leaders at the national, state, and local levels, representing the public, nonprofit, private, and philanthropic sectors to discuss key issues affecting rural North Carolinian’s—broadband, entrepreneurship and small business development, health, housing and water and wastewater infrastructure.

Panels will take place every Thursday at 11 a.m. from May 7 through June 4. A moderator will ground each session in the latest data and research surrounding the issue, and expert panelists will then further speak to the issue, policy solutions, and local innovations. We recognize, too, that there exists a nexus between our Rural Talk topics and the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, and our panelists will address how these issues intersect. Each one-hour session will consist of a 45 minute discussion, followed by a Q&A period. 

Series Schedule:

Thursday, May 21: Rural Health- This panel session will focus on rural health, specifically regarding access to care, provider needs and shortages, social determinants and drivers, and the impact of

Thursday, May 28: Rural Housing- This panel session will focus on rural housing, specifically around the issues of affordability, accessibility, sector capacity building, and the impact of COVID-19.

Thursday, June 4: Rural Water and Wastewater Infrastructure- This panel session will focus on rural water and wastewater infrastructure, specifically regarding issues of fiscal and internal management, sustainability, and the impact of COVID-19.
New Portal Opens to File Claims for COVID-19 Testing and Treatment of Uninsured Patients

Health care providers and hospitals can use a new portal to request reimbursement for claims associated with COVID-19 testing and treatment of uninsured patients retroactive to Feb. 4, 2020. The Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal was launched by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to support health care providers in delivering COVID-19 diagnostic testing and treatment at no cost to patients.
School Buses to Serve as Wi-Fi Hot Spots for Remote Learning

Governor Roy Cooper announced the plan to equip more school buses with hotspots following the announcement that K-12 public schools would continue remote learning through the end of this school year. 
The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES)

House Democrats plan to move forward with a $3 trillion bill for additional coronavirus relief , following up on the historic $2 trillion aid package passed in March.
The latest bill, called the HEROES Act, prioritizes granting hazard pay to front-line workers and providing aid to state and local governments, which had not been allotted in previous bills.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
Get the latest information on COVID-19 in North Carolina
North Carolina Launches a Statewide COVID-19 Website
The state has launched a new website to serve as a portal for all COVID-19 across state government.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
NC  2-1-1
Get up to date information on COVID-19

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service provided by United Way of North Carolina. Accessible via an easy-to-remember, three-digit number, families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services and resources within their community.
Text COVIDNC to 898-211 for announcements and updates
Dial 2-1-1 or 888-892-1162 Available 24 hours a day 7 days a week
COVID-19 Rumors and Misinformation

This website is a curated collection of tools and materials that can guide and provide examples on how to understand, track, address rumors and misinformation around COVID-19.
Funding Opportunities
USDA Announces Cooperative Agreements for Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $900,000 for local governments to host a Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction (CCFWR) pilot project for fiscal year (FY) 2020. The cooperative agreements will support projects that develop and test strategies for planning and implementing municipal compost plans and food waste reduction plans. The agreements are offered through USDA’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production.
USDA Announces Grants for Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the availability of $3 million for grants through its new Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. The competitive grants will support the development of urban agriculture and innovative production projects through two categories, Planning Projects and Implementation Projects. USDA will accept applications on until midnight July 6, 2020.
Searchable Guide to COVID-19 Federal Funding Resources Available from Alchemy Community Transformations

An interactive guide to help rural communities navigate the various federal funding resources included within the CARES Act is now available from Alchemy Community Transformations . This guide can be searched by topic, applicant type, cost-share requirements, or funding type. This interactive tool to help you navigate federal funding resources is available here , and other resources from Alchemy Community Transformations are available here.
SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

The SBA has approved the North Carolina Governor’s request for a disaster declaration, and you may begin the application process. Eligible applicants may now apply for economic injury disaster loans (EIDLs) as a result of the ongoing effects of COVID-19.
Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
Golden LEAF receives $125M in funding to support NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program
Funding will provide loans to help small businesses suffering economic losses related to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The NC COVID-19 Rapid Recovery Loan Program was launched on March 24 with an initial allocation of $15 million provided by Golden LEAF. Applications were quickly submitted well in excess of the available funding. Golden LEAF worked with the Office of Governor Roy Cooper and leadership of the North Carolina General Assembly to appropriate the additional funds to support this program and address identified demand. With this additional funding in place, applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.
FEMA Public Assistance Program

All North Carolina local governments and certain nonprofits are eligible to apply to the FEMA Public Assistance Program for FEMA reimbursement to assist with emergency expenses related to responding to COVID-19.  The NC Division of Emergency Management and the UNC School of Government have partnered to produce an on-demand applicant briefing webinar that gives instructions on how to register for FEMA reimbursement, information on general reimbursement eligibility of COVID-19 expenses, tips on documenting expenses, and COVID-19 federal procurement requirements.

A link to the free on-demand applicant briefing webinar, a pdf of the briefing presentation slides, and a summary of the FEMA Public Assistance program is available at both websites below:  

The first step toward applying for FEMA reimbursement of eligible COVID-19 expenses is to register your organization in the FEMA Grants Portal .  

All local governments and nonprofits (incorporated as a 501(c), (d), or (e) in the state are encouraged to register in the FEMA Grants Portal. Even if your organization is not certain whether you have COVID-19 expenses that are eligible for FEMA reimbursement, you are encouraged to register - you cannot apply for FEMA reimbursement without being registered in the Grants Portal and completing a few simple registration forms. This very simple registration process is explained in the on-demand briefing webinar. 

Law Enforcement COVID-19 Grant

Known as the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding (CESF) Program, local law enforcement must still file the paperwork to receive the funding. Applications are being processed within 7-10 days in order to get the funding out quickly.

The CESF funding is designed to assist eligible states, units of local government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus. The funding is very flexible as long as it related to COVID-19 response. For example, allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, overtime, equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment), hiring, supplies (such as gloves, masks, sanitizer), training, travel expenses (particularly related to the distribution of resources to the most impacted areas), and addressing the medical needs of inmates and others in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers. Recipients of CESF grant awards have latitude in awarding sub-grants that will help in preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19, but states are not required to limit their pool of sub-recipients to criminal justice agencies.
Applications are accepted up to May 29, 2020, but, again, they are being approved on a rolling basis, so applying sooner rather than later is recommended.
U.S. Department of Homeland Security Announces $10 Million in FY20 Funding Availability for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant Programs
Suggested Reads
Human Trafficking in the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Margaret Henderson
Trafficking, like health disparities, targets marginalized groups. The equation of human trafficking involves three types of participants:

  • People who are vulnerable
  • People who arrange and profit from the trafficking
  • People who are customers

The Covid-19 pandemic is generating new vulnerabilities to be exploited, new strategies for recruiting or marketing victims, and now a risk of exposure to COVID-19.

Local government staff should be aware of these dynamics as they interact with residents during the daily flow of public work. They might be seeing the indicators of trafficking without recognizing the implications.
Visit Coates' Canons: NC Local Government Law 's blog for additional articles on interesting topics such as:

Lumber River Council of Governments | Phone: 910-618-5533 | Fax: 910-521-7556