Jeff Parish works to get home owners to apply for flood mitigation grants

Jeff Parish works to get home owners to apply for flood mitigation grants

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Hurricanes are always a concern, and some homeowners may have an opportunity to get federal dollars to reduce their flood risk.

"Pretty much my house is elevated and it's nice inside, as well, and good neighborhood," said Jin Kuang.

He said the fact that the home he recently purchased in Metairie was already elevated was a major reason he bought.

"We checked this out like a couple of times, and it's pretty nice and the main point is its elevated," Kuang said.

FEMA says floods are one of the most common hazards in the United States, and given that FEMA has a flood mitigation assistance grant program for elevating and rebuilding homes.

The application process has begun.

"That would be a house that's had two or more claims and usually FEMA puts higher priority on properties that have had building claims greater than their property value, so let's say you've had four claims and each claim was worth $50,000, now you have had more claims than the value of your building, so it's a smart move for FEMA and flood insurance to potentially elevate or rebuild the home, rather than to continue to pay flood claims on that property," said Michelle Gonzales, Director of Flood Plain Management and Hazard Mitigation for Jefferson Parish government.

The grants are intended for home owners who have suffered flooding before.

"If someone's house has flooded four or more times FEMA may consider them for a hundred percent of the funding, well, a hundred percent, what does that dollar amount look like?  An elevation costs, could be upward of a hundred thousand dollars," said Gonzales.

Income level is not a barrier.

"With the FEMA grants income level doesn't disqualify a property from being eligible for the grant. The biggest disqualification is if you don't have flood insurance," said Gonzales.

There is a limit to how much FEMA doles out for rebuilding a home that has experienced repetitive flooding.

"Where we would demolish and rebuild a house and that's a maximum amount of $150,000, so FEMA has very specific parameters of what they will pay for, but they don't have a specific cap for the elevations," said Gonzales.

And soon the much anticipated new flood maps could be issued.

"The flood maps for Jefferson Parish should be finished any day now. FEMA has told us we should have their letter of final determination in August of this year which would put us as the, flood insurance would be rated on these new maps in February 2018," said Gonzales.

The new maps could result in lower flood coverage premiums for some.

"Someone who's in a high-risk area may see their base flood elevation decrease on these new maps which would, could potentially show them a reduced flood insurance premium," Gonzales continued.

With a home already elevated Kuang is less anxious about the tropics.

"It's way safer for hurricane season, the flood insurance is low, as well," he said.

Gonzales said flood insurance is a requirement to receive the grants.

To receive an application contact Jefferson Parish's Flood Plain Management office.

Wednesday evening representatives of Jefferson Parish will participate in the LA Safe meeting.  The focus is helping communities mitigate risks from storms and coastal issues.

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