Property owners in flood-prone areas who missed the initial opportunity for federal funding to elevate their homes may be eligible for a second chance.
Brigantine is among three Atlantic County municipalities applying for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance for those who qualify to elevate their homes to reduce the potential of severe flood damage. Funding would come through FEMA's Flood Mitigation Assistance program and would operate through a reimbursement structure based on a prioritized list of homes.
“The program is 75 percent grant funded, so the homeowners will be required to fund 25 percent of the project themselves,” said City Manager Ed Stinson.
“The homeowner will have to complete the project and get the certificate of approval from the building department before being reimbursed. It's not pay as you go or pay in advance. The qualifying homeowner would have to have the work done, and the city would reimburse 75 percent of the cost.”
The total cost of the elevation cannot exceed $198,800, said Stinson.
The city's intention is to build a queue, or list of homeowners interested in pursuing the grants. The city would apply to FEMA annually until all of the homes on the list have been elevated or demand for the funding is exhausted. The amount FEMA will grant each municipality each year is limited, and money would be dispersed based on priority.
At the top of the prioritized list are any homes that have been placed on FEMA's repetitive loss or severe repetitive loss lists. Primary homes will be the second priority, and homeowners will have to have purchased the residence prior to Jan. 22, 2016 to qualify. The third priority is any home with the greatest difference between the federal base flood elevation and the first finished floor.
In each case the home must have substantiated loss records due to flooding, and the homeowner must show proof of flood insurance. Only the cost of elevating the home will receive reimbursement. Any additional renovations to the property the homeowner may choose to do would not be covered by the grant.
“We want anybody who has flood insurance, and you have to have sustained flood damage or a severe loss due to flooding to the property,” said Stinson. “If you have that, we want you to reach out to us and we will send applications for you to complete, and we'll start building the queue.”
Any FEMA funding Brigantine would receive would include 5 percent designated for administration costs. Rutala Associates of Linwood has been retained by the city as a grant consultant.
Any Brigantine homeowner interested in pursuing grant funding can email Rutala Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org and request an application package.