FEMA Funds First Hazard Mitigation Project In Orleans Parish
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently approved funding to reconstruct six severe repetitive loss properties in Orleans Parish. The approved project is significant because it is the first project in Orleans Parish being funded through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP).
(Media-Newswire.com) - NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) recently approved funding to reconstruct six severe repetitive loss properties in Orleans Parish. The approved project is significant because it is the first project in Orleans Parish being funded through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grants Program ( HMGP ).
The funding provides mitigation alternatives to reduce or eliminate long-term risks for properties affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Under FEMA's Pilot Reconstruction Program, eligible applicants may receive HMGP funds to demolish an existing structure and construct an improved, elevated structure on the same site. This may include pre-existing structures that were substantially damaged or destroyed because of the declared event.
The grant is only available to property owners who owned the property at the time of the event for which funding is authorized. Mitigation reconstruction projects are not eligible if located in floodways as identified on the effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps ( FIRMS ). Alternative mitigation actions were considered, but elevation was determined to be the most cost effective and beneficial action.
"We have committed to rebuilding stronger than before, and the approval of these projects speaks directly to that goal," said Louisiana Recovery Authority ( LRA ) Board Member Tim Coulon. "Spending the time and money to elevate and reconstruct these homes not only makes our citizens safer, but also saves taxpayers money in the long-term by preventing future loss."
Funding from the $885,036 Pilot Reconstruction Grant is earmarked to rebuild the residential properties in compliance with the latest building codes and to elevate one foot above Advisory Base Flood Elevation ( ABFE ). The project is designed to reduce future flood damages, health and safety risks, clean-up costs and displacement time for the homeowners. These measures will also bring cost savings to the National Flood Insurance Program.
"This pilot program has broadened the scope of the traditional HMGP funding opportunities, to enable communities to incorporate mitigation directly into the reconstruction process," said Jim Stark, FEMA's director of the Louisiana Transitional Recovery Office. "FEMA will continue working closely with Orleans Parish through the state of Louisiana to ensure sound mitigation opportunities and options are fully exercised in the rebuilding process."
Hazard mitigation is one of the state's top priorities. In November 2005, the LRA authorized the release of $250 million to help parishes prevent damage from future disasters. In accordance with the State Hazard Mitigation Program, LRA directed the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness ( GOHSEP ) to distribute the first hazard mitigation funding available after hurricanes Katrina and Rita to parish governments.
"GOHSEP is extremely pleased to see the hard work and dedicated efforts of the mitigation staffs at both GOHSEP and FEMA come to fruition with the awarding of this grant," said Casey Levy, State Hazard Mitigation officer. "The staff at the city's Office of Recovery Management has worked diligently to begin the process of getting FEMA grant money into the hands of the citizens of New Orleans. This award is only the first of many other viable projects that GOHSEP is helping the city get approved for funding by FEMA."
When projects are obligated by FEMA through the Hazard Mitigation Grants Program, the funds are transferred to a Smartlink account. This allows the grantee, the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, to draw down the funds as quickly as possible. The state may require additional information from the subgrantee before disbursing the funds.
Approximately $1.1 billion in HMGP funds are currently assigned to support eligible mitigation activities homeowners can complete via the state's Road Home Hazard Mitigation program. The process by which these mitigation activities may be fundable has been approved by FEMA, however each property must be verified eligible prior to FEMA funds being awarded. The state's Office of Community Development ( OCD ) is the applicant for this HMGP project. In the coming weeks, affected homeowners will be contacted by OCD with information regarding the next step.
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.
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated South Louisiana, claiming 1,464 lives, destroying more than 200,000 homes and 18,000 businesses. The LRA is the planning and coordinating body that was created in the aftermath of these storms by Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco to lead one of the most extensive rebuilding efforts in the world. The LRA is a 33-member body which is coordinating across jurisdictions, supporting community recovery and resurgence, ensuring integrity and effectiveness and planning for the recovery and rebuilding of Louisiana.
GOHSEP will ensure that the state is prepared to respond to, and recover from, all natural and man-made emergencies. This office will provide the leadership and support to reduce the loss of life and property through an all-hazards emergency management program of prevention, mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery.
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.
This story was released on 2007-11-27. Please make sure to visit the official company or organization web site to learn more about the original release date. See our disclaimer for additional information.