Volume I; issue xii | July 2020
Eastern Carolina Council of Governments (ECCOG) would love to share your news with the Region. Email your stories to eccadmin@eccog.org
COVID-19 Related
Electronic Meetings During the COVID-19 Emergency: Recommended Practices
Electronic meetings have quickly become a fact of life for many local governments in North Carolina as officials have acted to limit the spread of the Coronavirus. This post summarizes some of the advice that my colleagues and I have been giving on best practices for electronic meetings.... Read More
Upcoming Training Opportunities
Low-Impact Development Virtual Workshop Set - July 14
Participants will learn how land use decisions impact water quality; about Low Impact Development (LID) techniques that help protect water quality; about the costs and benefits of implementing LID; about LID projects in Wrightsville Beach and on the Outer Banks; about managing stormwater control measures (SCMs) to meet state and local regulations and to maintain functionality and aesthetics; and about funding available to implement stormwater improvements.
Living Shorelines Open House - July 8
During the open house, area professionals and contractors will be on hand to share information and answer questions on how to build a living shoreline.
Benefits of living shorelines include reduced erosion, maintained natural marsh, protected coastal habitat, filtered and improved water quality and buffered shore for changing water levels
Introduction to Local Government Finance Registration - Aug - Sept
This introductory course provides basic instruction in local government and public authority finance and financial management. Areas of instruction include the basic legal authority and requirements governing local government revenues, budgeting processes, cash management, purchasing and contracting, expenditure control, conflicts of interest, fund accounting and financial reporting. The course also provides an overview of the state and local economic issues that inform strategic budgeting decisions.
Opportunities
NCDHHS Announces $26 Million to Help Mitigate the Economic Disruption of COVID-19, Including Assistance for Families Facing Eviction
Raleigh, N.C.
Jun 15, 2020

Today, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) announced that the state’s Community Action Agencies (CAAs) have begun to receive flexible funds that can be used to help low-income individuals and families meet a variety of needs caused by the economic disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. These funds are part of the federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) and can, among other allowable uses, help eligible residents facing eviction with unmet rent and utility expenses. 

“With the economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Governor’s moratorium on evictions and utility shutoffs is the only thing keeping many families in safe and stable housing,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. “This flexible funding will allow our Community Action Agencies to continue to meet a wide array of needs in our communities, including helping families remain in their homes when the moratorium is lifted.” 

Community Action Agencies are nonprofit organizations created by President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. To be eligible for CSBG-funded services, individuals and families must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. 

“Community Action Agencies have helped bridge gaps for low wealth residents and communities for 55 years,” said Sharon Goodson, Executive Director of the NC Community Action Association. “They provide comprehensive services like case management, transportation, housing, employment, education, child care, eviction and emergency assistance programs to ensure low wealth residents increase and maintain their economic stability.”

To apply for help, contact your local Community Action Agency. For additional information on the CSBG funding or contact information for the 33 Community Action Agencies in North Carolina, visit ncdhhs.gov/csbg-contacts
State opens homeowner application period for ReBuild NC storm recovery program
 
Raleigh, NC –Governor Roy Cooper has announced the opening of a new application period for homeowners who need assistance with home repairs due to damage from Hurricanes Florence and/or Matthew. ReBuild NC , a program of the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR), established the Homeowner Recovery Program to help homeowners repair, reconstruct or elevate homes damaged by the storms. The program is part of a comprehensive plan to distribute federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CBDG-DR) funds within North Carolina’s hardest hit communities. 

“The damaging impacts of Hurricanes Florence and Matthew can still be seen in many North Carolina communities today,” said Gov. Cooper. “The Homeowner Recovery Program can help homeowners rebuild smarter and stronger to make them more resilient against future storms.”
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) took 500 days after Hurricane Florence made landfall to issue the Federal Register Notice specifying requirements for using $542 million in CBDG-DR funds appropriated to North Carolina by Congress. Because of NCORR’s advance strategic work, North Carolina had an action plan ready within 24 hours of the Federal Register Notice publication, outlining how the state proposes to use the recovery funding. In April, North Carolina became the first among states with 2018 disaster grants to receive approval from HUD on its plan.

The beginning of the homeowner application period for Hurricane Florence assistance and re-opening the application period for Hurricane Matthew assistance reflects the work NCORR has done to streamline the program, adjust to changing circumstances in impacted counties, and increase flexibility within the program to maximize the number of eligible applicants. Homeowners who have already applied to ReBuild NC do not need to reapply.

Homeowners may be eligible for assistance if they owned and occupied a home during the time of these disasters. If homeowners have received assistance from other sources, they may still be eligible for help through the Homeowner Recovery Program.

In order to ensure the safety and wellbeing of applicants during the COVID-19 pandemic, ReBuild NC has developed an online application and redesigned its website to include additional resources for homeowners. People interested in applying to the program should visit ReBuild.NC.Gov . More information is also available by calling 833-ASK-RBNC.

Governor Cooper established NCORR in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence to streamline disaster recovery programs statewide and help communities rebuild smarter and stronger. The office, which is a part of the Department of Public Safety, administers programs that support disaster recovery and resiliency. Through its  ReBuild NC program,  NCORR has committed $185.4 million in Hurricane Matthew recovery funds to help storm survivors. To date, North Carolina has provided more than $3.5 billion in state and federal funding for Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Florence recovery. 
EDA Policy Actions and Investments in Support of Opportunity Zones Prominently Featured in White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council Report to the President

A White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council (Council) report that was delivered to President Donald J. Trump this month outlining Opportunity Zone best practices and examples of revitalization occurring across America prominently features policy actions and grants made by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) that are generating investment in Opportunity Zones.

EDA accepting applications to support economic recovery from coronavirus
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) released an Addendum to is Fiscal Year 202 Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Notice of Funding (FY 20 PEAA NOFO) to invite applicants to submit applications for funding made available under the CARES Act. 
 
Under this announcement, EDA will make CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants under the authority of its Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) program, which is intended to be flexible and responsive to the economic development needs and priorities of local and regional stakeholders.
 
EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance investments will support a wide range of non-construction and construction activities, including Revolving Loan Funds, in regions across the country experiencing severe economic dislocations brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Funds are intended to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
 
Examples of projects that EDA may fund through its CARES Act Recovery Assistance include economic recovery planning and preparing technical assistance strategies to address economic dislocations caused by the coronavirus pandemic, preparing or updating resiliency plans to respond to future pandemics, implementing entrepreneurial support programs to diversify economies, and constructing public works and facilities that will support economic recovery, including the deployment of broadband for purposes including supporting telehealth and remote learning for job skills.
 
Eligible applicants under the EAA program include a(n):
  • District Organization;
  • Indian Tribe or a consortium of Indian Tribes;
  • State, county, city, or other political subdivision of a State, including a special purpose unit of a State or local government engaged in economic or infrastructure development activities, or a consortium of political subdivisions;
  • Institution of higher education or a consortium of institutions of higher education; or
  • Public or private non-profit organization or association acting in cooperation with officials of a political subdivision of a State.
For more information, please visit the EDA CARES Act Recovery Assistance page at https://www.eda.gov/coronavirus/ . Applications must be submitted via Grants.gov. To locate the application package, please go to https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=321695 .

EDA invites applications for economic development grant opportunities
The U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) invites applicants to submit applications under its Public Works program and Economic Adjustment Assistance (EAA) programs. Through these programs, EDA invites applications to request grant assistance for clearly defined construction or non-construction assistance projects that will advance job creation, job retention and private investment or enhance economic development decision-making, respectfully. 
Through EDA’s grant programs construction may support the construction of new public assets or the renovation of existing public assets, which include but are not limited to water/sewer lines, tanks, systems, pumps; incubators; access roads; workforce training facilities; commercialization centers; port improvements; and other similar projects.  EDA’s non-construction projects can support a wide array of activities, including highest and best use analysis, cluster and supply chain mapping studies, and regional technical assistance projects. Matching share funds are required and must be committed at the time of the project and for the same scope of work. For Public Works and Economic Adjustment Assistance Programs the match is generally 50 percent, although communities may qualify for a higher grant rate. To learn more and to discuss potential projects, please contact Hillary Sherman at hsherman@eda.gov . To access the funding notice and application forms, please go to: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=321695 .
 

Institute for Emerging Issues announced launch of BAND-NC to support Internet deployment
The Institute for Emerging Issues in partnership and support with the NC Broadband Infrastructure Office, the John M. Belk Endowment, the Atlantic Telephone Membership Corporation, the Roanoke Electric Cooperative, and the North Carolina Electric Cooperatives, has announced availability of grants to communities across the state to facilitate digital access across North Carolina. Building a New Digital Economy in NC (BAND-NC) will support thirty $5,000 “rapid response community innovation grants” this summer, a series of workshops led by IEI and BIO to help communities develop “digital inclusion plans” this fall, and another thirty $5,000 “implementation” grants in 2021. 

The Institute for Emerging Issues will be hosting a BAND-NC information webinar on Friday, June 19 at 9:00 a.m. To register, please go to: go.ncsu.edu/band-nc-grant .   To learn more about the grant opportunity, please go to https://iei.ncsu.edu/band-nc/ .

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans and EIDL Advance Programs Reopened
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance Program Portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 on June 15, 2020. Through this program, SBA offers long-term, low-interest assistance for a small business or non-profit. Loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue, and can be used to cover payroll, inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses. Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid. To learn more, please go to https://www.sba.gov/coronavirus.

REMINDER: EPA releases grant funding to address COVID-19 Impacts faced by vulnerable communities
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making $1 million in grant funding available to states, local governments, tribes, and territories for projects to improve the health and welfare of low income, minority, tribal and indigenous communities. EPA will give special consideration to those applications aimed at addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic communities with EJ concerns. The State Environmental Justice Environmental Justice (SEJCA) Cooperative Agreement Program will provide funds to eligible states, local governments, tribes and territories. EPA anticipates issuing 5 grants of approximately $200,000 each for a two-year funding period. Applications are due by Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 11:59PM Eastern Time. To learn more, please go to: https://www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice/state-environmental-justice-cooperative-agreement-program#tab-2

National Park Service announces funding for Outdoor Recreation Partnership Program
The National Park Service State and Local Assistance Division announced the availability of funds for a national competitive grant program. State, local governments and Indian Tribes are eligible to submit Proposals for matching grants to support projects that would acquire or develop public land for outdoor recreation purposes located within or serving Census-delineated “urbanized areas”: places with a population of 50,000 or more people that are densely settled. Applications are expected to range between $300,000 - $1 million. Applications must be received by July 10. For more information and to access the application package, please go to https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=324077 .

OSHA Susan Harwood Workforce Training Grants Available to Nonprofits
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the availability of $11.5 million in Susan Harwood Training Grant to help provide resources for training and education to help workers and employers identify and prevent workplace safety and health hazards, including the coronavirus. Applications must be received by July 20. For more information and to access the application package, please go to https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/05/19/2020-10726/susan-harwood-training-grant-program-fy-2020.
Regional Happenings
2020 Hurricane Season
Amidst the COVID pandemic Hurricane season started June 1. Do you know your zone?

In an emergency, local officials will order evacuations using pre-determined zones to keep your family safe. These zones in coastal counties highlight areas most at risk to impacts from hurricanes, tropical storms and other hazards

The Town of Pine Shores seeks a qualified individual preferably with a background in municipal government to serve as Town Clerk .

The town of River Bend is looking to hire a qualified individual to serve as Town Clerk

Chapter 160D
The new Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes consolidates current city- and county-enabling statutes for development regulations (now in Chapters 153A and 160A) into a single, unified chapter. Chapter 160D places these statutes into a more logical, coherent organization. While the new law does not make major policy changes or shifts in the scope of authority granted to local governments, it does provide many clarifying amendments and consensus reforms that will need to be incorporated into local development regulations.
 
Chapter 160D is effective now, but local governments have until July 1, 2021 for the development, consideration, and adoption of necessary amendments to conform local ordinances to this new law. All city and county zoning, subdivision, and other development regulations, including unified-development ordinances, will need to be updated by July 1, 2021 to conform to the new law.

The ECC is providing the fee for service option to local governments to update their land use ordinances. Towns interested in the ECC providing a quote may contact Katie Bordeaux at kbordeaux@eccog.org and/or (252) 638-3185 ext 3005.
Dementia Alliance NC Noteworthy CARE Partner!
Dementia Alliance NC has been excepting nominations from across the state for Nominations honor North Carolina professionals taking exceptional care of our loved ones living with dementia during the pandemic. These individuals are recognized for going above and beyond in their efforts for providing care and services to clients in their homes. Please join ECCAAA in congratulating region P’s recipients of the NC Dementia Alliance Noteworthy Care Partner recognition. 

“Do you know a caregiver in a professional setting that has gone above and beyond during the Covid-19 crisis? Nominate them at: https://forms.gle/mk7tr5wqjsUQYgJy9 Nominees must work in within the senior care industry, including adult day programs, assisted living, rest homes, family care homes, skilled nursing communities, hospice, home care, home health and senior centers. We ask that you share why the person is special and give us at least one example about how they have gone out of their way to care for seniors during the COVID-19 outbreak.”
Frankie Hobbs, Duplin County Services on Aging
Frankie is compassionate and caring to everyone. In addition to her In-Home Aide responsibilities, she works diligently to provide resources for caregivers. In the absence of the monthly on-site support group meeting during COVID-19, many of the support group members are not comfortable communicating with the newer technology. Frankie makes weekly phone calls in addition to coordinating and delivering a gift box of essential groceries to caregivers’ homes. Frankie has been with the agency for 28 years, and she is considered a true mentor to other staff members as well.
Holly Wiiliams, Wayne County Services on Aging
In light of COVID-19, Holly has worked with staff members and caregivers throughout Wayne County providing robotic animals to individuals with cognitive impairment during isolation. Holly is compassionate about her job and always strives to help local caregivers with resources and information to better care for their loved ones. She is truly an angel to caregivers and makes a difference to everyone that she meets.
Lori Bradley, Wayne County Services on Aging
Lori has worked with other staff members over the past couple of months providing robotic animals to individuals with cognitive impairment. In light of COVID-19; she has delivered multiple animals to caregivers throughout Wayne County, bringing joy to those facing isolation. Lori has created caregiver activity packets and continues to do wellness calls to ensure that caregivers and their recipients are doing well. Lori’s amazing energy motivates all those that she comes in contact with. She is a gift to Wayne County and cherished by everyone.
January Brown, ECC-AAA
January does anything and everything she can to build up the ability, compassion, and skills of caregivers across MANY counties. Recently January has become a statewide speaker for caregiver programs everywhere. Her ability to stay on top of BOTH high-tech and high-touch methods for caregivers to manage all they are doing is AMAZING!!
Construction to Close Greene County Road for Two Months
SNOW HILL – A Greene County road is expected to close for two months while N.C. Department of Transportation contract crews make improvements to it.

NW 2nd Street will close at the intersection with U.S. 13/N.C. 903 (Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway) at 8 a.m. June 15. Crews will work on improving grading and drainage in the area. The closure is expected to last through Aug. 15.

Next Scheduled Meetings
Executive Committee Meeting - Aug 13, 20
3rd Floor Conference Room at ECC