Question: What is the status of the 2016 hazard mitigation grant for buyouts and elevations?
Answer: The State of Texas has reviewed Fort Bend County’s grant application and has recommended to FEMA that $10 million of our $17 million grant application be funded. It is unknown at this point if the remaining $7 million will be recommended by the State. FEMA still needs to review and approve our grant application.
Question: How will the 2016 hazard mitigation grant funds be distributed?
Answer: Fort Bend County residents had the opportunity to apply for buyouts and elevations following the 2016 flooding disasters. Fort Bend County then submitted two applications (October 2016 and January 2017) to the State of Texas and FEMA with a list of properties that applied for the grant. It is these properties that will be funded pending State and FEMA approval.
If a resident of a property on the grant application decides to not accept the grant funding, a property off the Alternate Property List will then be substituted in its place.
Question: What was the ranking system that Fort Bend County used to prioritize the properties that applied for the buyouts and elevations in 2016?
Answer: Priority Ranking System (as decided by Fort Bend County Commissioners Court):
- Properties in the Floodway that were estimated to be Substantially Damaged
- Properties in the Floodway that were damaged
- Properties in the Floodplain that were estimated to be Substantially Damaged
- Properties in the Floodplain that were damaged
In each of these categories, the earlier a property owner submits their required documents the higher they will be ranked.
Question: Will the hazard mitigation grant fund elevations in the floodway?
Answer: No. Elevation of homes in the floodway would have left these properties in future risk, and homeowners in danger of future flooding. Fort Bend County’s Floodplain Regulations also discourages elevations located in the Floodway, and requires an in depth no rise certification to be completed.
Question: What is the Alternate Property List?
Answer: The Alternate Property Lists acts like a wait list. Anyone that did not make it on the 2016 grant application submitted to the State and FEMA can be placed on this list. The hazard mitigation grant allows for the ability to have an alternate properties list in the event that owners of properties change their mind and decide to not participate in the grant for whatever reason. Fort Bend County has been taking additional steps to capture the information of owners who may be interested in a buyout/elevation if future funding becomes available.
If you are interested in being placed on the Alternate Property List, please contact Caroline Egan at the Fort Bend County Office of Emergency Management at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: Can residents who applied for the 2016 hazard mitigation grant be reimbursed for the cost of raising their houses if they meet the local permitting requirements since the elevation of their homes is a necessity for these residents?
Answer: Unfortunately, no. FEMA guidance for the hazard mitigation grant does not allow for reimbursement. According to the FEMA Hazard Mitigaiton Assistance Guidance document (see the bottom of page 42):
Ineligible activity: Projects for which actual physical work, such as groundbreaking, demolition, or construction of a raised foundation, has occurred prior to award or final approval. Projects for which demolition and debris removal related to structures proposed for acquisition or mitigation reconstruction has already occurred may be eligible when such activities were initiated or completed under the FEMA PA program to alleviate a health or safety hazard as a result of a disaster.
Question: Does the County have any funding available for all economic classes to assist residents at this time to elevate their homes?
Answer: No. The County is working to see if Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery funding can be used to fund elevations. If so, this funding will be for homes impacted in 2016. Per US Department of Housing and Urban Development (the agency in charge of the Community Development Block Grants) guidance, homes in the floodway will not be eligible for elevations.