Nearly $9 million has been approved by various state and federal agencies to elevate 76 homes in Jefferson Parish, La., according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA), the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and FEMA are participating in the funding for the project.
“Hazard mitigation is one of the state’s top recovery priorities,” said LRA Board member Tim Coulon. “In total, more than $19 million in state and federal assistance has been provided through Louisiana’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to elevate more than 100 homes in Jefferson Parish that are on the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) severe repetitive loss list. As a result of these investments, we are making significant progress toward our ultimate goal of reducing risk from future storms.”
Approved by GOHSEP and FEMA, hazard mitigation plans enable communities to take actions to reduce or eliminate long-term risks to people and property from natural hazards and their effects.
The $8.75 million in funding comes from three separate HMGP applications and will go toward raising 76 homes in Jefferson Parish to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) level.
Although 100 percent of Jefferson Parish’s land area is within a 100-year floodplain, some areas of the parish receive more flooding due to storm surge. Elevating these structures will result in incremental improvement in flood resistant housing and significantly reduce the potential for these structures to sustain flood damage, especially repetitive flood damage.
The Jefferson Parish municipalities covered in this application ranked No.1 in the state for flood risk, No. 2 for storm surge and levee failure in the context of relative risk as summarized by the state of Louisiana’s hazard mitigation plan.
Alternative mitigation actions were considered for these projects, but elevation was determined to be the most cost effective and beneficial action.
As defined by the NFIP, severe repetitive loss homes have suffered incurred flood losses that resulted in either two or more flood insurance claims payments that together exceeded the value of the property or four or more flood insurance claims payments that each exceeded $5,000. At least two of those payments must have occurred in a 10-year period, with the total claims paid exceeding $20,000.
About 1,700 homes, or about one-third of the severely and repetitively damaged homes in America, are in Louisiana.
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration, to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.
The LRA authorized the release of $250 million to help parishes prevent damage from future disasters in November 2005. In accordance with the State Hazard Mitigation Program, LRA directed GOHSEP to distribute the first hazard mitigation funding available after hurricanes Katrina and Rita to parish governments.
To access hazard mitigation funds through the state HMGP program, parishes submit proposals to GOHSEP. The funds, which are provided under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, require a 25 percent match from parish governments or state agencies.
In addition to this HMGP program, more than $1.2 billion in hazard mitigation funds will also be made available directly to homeowners through the Road Home, a separate program which provides direct assistance to Louisiana homeowners affected by Hurricanes Katrina or Rita for the damage to their homes.
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