The Houston City Council (City) unanimously approved an agreement between the City and the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) for the City’s administration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Flood Mitigation Assistance Program (FMA). As an applicant on a FEMA-awarded FMA grant, the TWDB has agreed to reimburse the City, as sub-applicant, up to $14,846,975.92 for the elevation of forty-two flood-prone homes.
In response to the 2015 Memorial Day flood event, the City elected to submit a grant application to the annual FEMA call for the FMA grant program. The grant program makes funds available nation-wide to address the mitigation of flood-damaged properties that hold flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program.
Homeowners with properties designated by FEMA as Severe Repetitive Loss or Repetitive Loss, volunteered to participate in the program prior to the submission of the grant application. Depending on the National Flood Insurance Program loss history of each property at the time of the grant application, participating homeowners will be awarded between 75% and 100% of eligible home elevation project costs. The remaining home elevation costs are the responsibility of the individual homeowners.
Each property owner will enter into a contract with the City outlining the requirements for accepting the grant funding. Homeowners will then choose a contractor from a list of contractors pre-certified by the City. Design, permitting, and construction costs will be paid directly by the City to the contractor selected for each home project. Payments for other eligible costs, such as temporary housing, will be made directly to the homeowner.
City of Houston Public Works Director Dale Rudick commented, “We are glad we are able to take advantage of this Federal funding opportunity to help people stay in their neighborhoods and minimize the risk of future flooding.”