NEW ORLEANS - The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) and the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) recently announced Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding to elevate or reconstruct approximately 600 flood prone properties throughout the state of Louisiana.
“Many homes were flooded during hurricanes Katrina and Rita. It’s important that we take precautions now to try and prevent these properties from flooding again in the future,” said Jim Stark, acting associate deputy administrator of FEMA’s Gulf Coast Recovery Office. “This funding will allow homeowners to rebuild safer and stronger in areas across Louisiana.
A $21 million grant will go toward elevating structures on properties located in Calcasieu, Cameron, Iberia, Jefferson, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. Tammany, Terrebonne and Vermilion parishes. In addition to addressing repetitive flood problems in Louisiana, this project will significantly reduce the risk to public health and safety.
Repairs have already begun on 428 of the 600 properties. Due to the unique circumstances in Louisiana after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the Office of Management and Budget allowed FEMA to retroactively approve funding for these work in progress properties.
This grant is part of a package that includes elevating or reconstructing approximately 20,000 flood prone structures in Louisiana parishes devastated by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The total cost of the package is approximately $750 million. An initial grant $96.5 million was awarded in May 2008.
The HMGP funding will work in tandem with Louisiana’s Road Home program. Applicants of the Road Home program whose actual elevation costs exceed the elevation funding they received under the Road Home may be eligible for additional funds. The state Hazard Mitigation program will award a maximum of $30,000 in HMGP funds to eligible applicants to elevate their homes to comply with local floodplain ordinances or Advisory Base Flood Elevation, whichever is higher. This grant is directed towards those homeowners who are not already participating in the HMGP through their parish. FEMA is also providing $5,000 per home to the Office of Community Development for management costs associated with administering the program.
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.
A congressionally mandated study conducted for FEMA revealed that mitigation saves society an average of $4 for every dollar spent. Such defensive, preventative mitigation measures learned and implemented by Louisianians will contribute to a national floodplain management plan that saves taxpayers an estimated $1.1 billion per year by preventing flood damages.
Created in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita in 2005, the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) is the coordinating and planning body leading the most extensive rebuilding effort in American history. The central point for hurricane recovery in Louisiana, the LRA works closely with the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and partners with state and federal agencies to oversee more than $20 billion worth of programs, speed the pace of rebuilding, remove hurdles and red tape and ensure that Louisiana recovers safer and stronger than before. For more information about the LRA and its 17-member board, visit lra.louisiana.gov.
FEMA coordinates the federal government’s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.