FEMA grant money available for elevating homes in flood-prone areas of Mathews County

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jun 06, 2012 - 02:42 PM

Property owners in flood-prone areas of Mathews County have another opportunity to have their homes or businesses elevated under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant program.

At a meeting in the historic courthouse last week, consultants shared information on the program with about a dozen county residents and passed out application forms for them to complete.

Michael Dodson of Community Planning Partners explained that the funds currently available are coming to Virginia under the disaster declaration for last year’s Tropical Storm Lee and the earthquake in Louisa County, but property owners didn’t have to be affected by those events to be eligible for funding.

After such events, he said, federal money comes to the state to help mitigate future hazards and can be used for such purposes as elevating homes or businesses that are in flood plains or, at the request of an owner, acquiring a property outright and creating permanent open space.

The first priority for funding is the locality that was affected, said Dodson, but there’s always money left over, and it’s available for any locality in the state. The federal government wants to reduce its long-term liability for flood insurance payouts, he said, and when a home in a flood plain is either elevated or demolished and left as open space, it helps reduce or eliminate future claims.