FEMA awards $1.9M
The Federal Emergency Management Agency ( FEMA ) has awarded a $1.9 million hazard mitigation grant to Harris County Flood Control District No. 9 to acquire residential properties that suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Ike. The grant was obligated to the district for the acquisition of nine properties in the Idylwood Historic Subdivision.
The funds are made available to the state of Texas through FEMA's Hazard Mitigation Grant Program ( HMGP ), with the HMGP covering 75 percent of the project cost and the remainder coming from the applicant or other nonfederal sources. FEMA has set aside $395 million for the HMGP in Texas.
"These HMGP grants are vital to getting families moved out of areas that are prone to repeat flooding," said Federal Coordinating Officer Brad Harris. "By removing the structures and ensuring no others are built at those locations, we are breaking the cycle of damage, repair and repeat damage."
As part of the agreement among the flood control district, the state and FEMA, the space where the homes once sat will be returned to its natural state and left open. The space may become a residential park or a natural open area.
Removing flood-prone structures from the floodplain eliminates future damages and health and safety risks for those homeowners and any potential rescuers. It also eliminates the need to provide emergency response services, subsidized flood insurance and federal disaster assistance to the residents. Additionally, the acquisitions will reduce future costs to the National Flood Insurance Program through fewer flood insurance claims.
"Acquisitions such as these demonstrate the local, state and federal commitment to protect lives in Harris County and other areas affected by the storm," said Ben Patterson, state coordinating officer for the Hurricane Ike recovery effort.
The goal of the HMGP is to help local communities and citizens recover from disaster and take steps to prevent or reduce future disaster losses.