Federal grant could pay for raising homes, other needs

Federal grant could pay for raising homes, other needs
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)
(Source: WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - It's not clear yet just how many Dougherty County homeowners will have to raise their homes after January's storms, but there might be some grant money available to help with the cost, although accessing it will be a long time from now.

There are homeowners that can't get a permit for repairs because their homes are in the floodplain.

The home must be raised above the flood level or be abandoned.

Dougherty County's assistant administrator, Michael McCoy, said there is about $5.8 million dollars available in a federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program to share between all of the South Georgia counties affected by the January 22 tornado, and declared under the disaster declaration.

McCoy said there is $2.8 million dollars for January 2 damages, and some of the H.M.G.P. money can be used to pay for elevating a home.

"That is going to be a big big deal for those who are currently living in the flood plains. In many cases it is a pretty expensive process to (raise a home)," said John Hayes Dougherty District 2 Commissioner.

But, if Dougherty County is awarded the funding, it could be well over a year before any of that money is seen.

The pre-application is due to GEMA on June 9, and GEMA will apply to the federal government in January 2018.

It could take up to a year to get a response from FEMA.

If awarded the grant money, GEMA will administer the funds.

McCoy said there is a "laundry list" of eligible uses for the money including voluntary property acquisition, structure elevation, mitigation reconstruction, and even generators for critical facilities, like hospitals.  It can also be used to install warning systems at locations in unincorporated or rural areas and pay for safe houses.

McCoy said the cost share is 75% federal and 25% non-federal, with 10% of that covered by the state. The remaining 15% share is local money.
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