9 months after Hurricane Matthew, 18 families move back home

Nine months after Hurricane Matthew, 18 families move back home. (WPDE)

LUMBERTON, N.C. (WPDE) - About 18 families have moved back into their Lumberton homes after living in motels for the past nine months following Hurricane Matthew.

First Baptist Homes is an apartment community for the elderly and disabled. The apartments completely flooded during Hurricane Matthew.

Lola Smith, 68, said she lost everything she owned in the storm.

"It was hard and to see your personal things being tossed out on pile, you know, you're seeing people that are family in your building. You see their things being carried out and tossed out, and then you go in your apartment and you look, and you see all your personal things underwater and stuff like pictures of your family members in water and stuff like that, that you know you're not gone be able to salvage some of them,” said Smith.

Henry Cutler, 82, said it was hard living in the hotels, but he won’t complain.

Cutler said he never thought Hurricane Matthew would be so devastating to Lumberton.

"We were drowned out. We were homeless. And, the first time in my life that I have been where I didn't have somewhere to lay my head, or something to eat of my own. That's when it hit me,” said Cutler.

Sarah McLain is the apartment manager at First Baptist Homes.

McLain said it’s been an emotional roller coaster and she’s glad the residents are back home.

"They're home. I remember the other day I said, 'Time for ya'll to come home.' They're home,” said McLain.

Many of the residents are still in need of things to make their apartments feel like home again though.

To help the situation, Robeson County, the City of Lumberton, and a number of other local agencies are donating furniture and supplies to the families.

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