Hurricane Florence caused massive damage in the Carolinas in September. According to Moody’s Analytics, the top-end estimate of property damage for thousands of single-family homes from flooding and wind is $45 million. However, the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) stock was relatively unscathed.

“Immediately after the storm we started reaching out to our property owners and managers for a damage assessment,” says Scott Farmer, executive director of the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA).

With 18,000 LIHTC units in the 28 North Carolina disaster counties, only 397 units were reported as offline a few weeks after the hurricane, with three properties vacated until the owners and managers can do remediation. The South Carolina State Housing Finance and Development Authorityreported no indications of damaged LIHTC properties in the state.

“It makes us feel like we have been doing the right things—siting properties in less-prone flooding areas and building sustainable developments,” Farmer says. “And we’re also pleased with the response of our owners and managers to get those units back online for their residents and others affected. It’s been all hands on deck, which is heartening to see after the storm.”

Laurie Schoeman, senior program director of national initiatives, resilience, at Enterprise Community Partners says the organization worked with its partners across the Carolinas to ensure they had what they needed in advance of the hurricane as well as following the event.

“Our portfolio didn’t experience dramatic damage, but the communities that they are in are still in dire need,” she adds.

Post-Florence, more attention is focused on the need for more affordable housing and resilient rebuilding efforts.

In North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s proposed recovery plan, he has called for the construction of resilient buildings, providing local governments and partners with resources to rebuild smart and strong, and establishing more affordable housing.

“We had an affordable housing crisis before Hurricane Matthew hit [in 2016], and this is only going to exacerbate the problem going forward,” says Farmer. “We see this as a great opportunity for us to highlight affordable housing across the state. It is being talked about more now after Florence than it was after Matthew.”

Farmer adds that 37 properties are under construction or will soon start construction in the 28 disaster counties through NCHFA’s current LIHTC funding, but more efforts are needed to boost affordable housing across the state.

Schoeman adds that Gov. Cooper’s leadership is valuable. “He will set the gold standard for what other governors should be thinking about after an event occurs,” she says. “We are seeing more and more leadership throughout the jurisdictions that had disasters last year focusing on resilient building and mitigation.”

She says one way to strengthen local jurisdictions is to provide tools in advance to position the community to be more resilient and better equipped to recover quickly after an event.

“If you don’t do it beforehand, it’s going to be more expensive and take more time after to recovery,” she says, adding that more needs to be done to project future risk and factor that into design and construction.

“We know how hard it is to build affordable housing, but one event—one earthquake, one fire, one hurricane—can undo decades of work. It’s even harder to rebuild affordable housing after it’s lost, especially in high-cost areas,” Schoeman adds.

Schoeman also says housing leaders are still trying to figure out how much will be allocated for disaster recovery.

“Our federal partners are still dealing with the 2017 natural disasters. This has been a banner two years for events. It’s stressing, and it has stretched the system,” she says. “Partners like Enterprise and other local community groups need to be able to provide the local eye and support to have a successful recovery. It takes a true partnership between local jurisdictions and the federal government to make a recovery successful.”