HUD finalizing housing as New Bern shelter prepares to close

NEW BERN, NC (WITN) Come Friday the shelter at the New Bern Rec center, the final shelter in operation following Hurricane Florence, will close for good, but before it does the Department of Housing and Urban Development has been finalizing finding homes for people.

Doing that work has been people like James Reed, who volunteered to come to New Bern from his home in Texas, to work to relocate people.

"That's our mission at HUD, to House people," said Reed. "After this disaster, it's been fulfilling for me."

Reed's official job title is as a Financial Support Specialist, a job he says comes with a number of duties, which include reaching out to local landlords to find properties people can move into on short notice.

One such person who has relocated thanks to Reed is Amelia Pledger, or as she's better known, Mother Bear.

Pledger volunteers with the Red Cross helping people herself, but when her home flooded following Florence, she and her 7 children were forced into the New Bern shelter.

After a week there Reed was able to get Pledger and her family relocated to a new home in Grenville, now she works along with Reed to help him find homes for others.

"He is compassionate about people, he builds your self-esteem, and he let me know, Mother Bear, you can do this, now go out there and get me some homes," said Pledger.

Since arriving, Reed alone has helped relocate more than a dozen families.

According to the Red Cross, the number of people staying at the New Bern shelter Wednesday was expected to be less than 20, down from the more than 100 people that were living there in mid-October​