Seattle, Wash. -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that it will allow the City of Kelso to use uncompensated home value as its share of the buyout funds for the Aldercrest acquisition project.
A landslide beginning in 1998 devastated the Aldercrest subdivision. Under Federal disaster law, FEMA pays 75 percent of eligible recovery costs, while the state and local government are required to contribute the remaining 25 percent. The State of Washington has agreed to contribute 12.5 percent, leaving a final 12.5 percent for the City of Kelso.
Since the Aldercrest properties will be acquired at approximately 30 cents on the dollar, the city would like to use the remaining uncompensated home value as its 12.5 percent matching contribution.
The $8.4 million slated to go to residents of the Kelso subdivision comes from three funding sources: two Hazard Mitigation grants and one Public Assistance grant. While Hazard Mitigation policies do accept uncompensated home value in lieu of matching funds, Public Assistance policies do not. Because the bulk of the $8.4 million is Hazard Mitigation money, FEMA will now apply the Hazard Mitigation policies to the entire project.
This means that the City will be able to use uncompensated home value as its share of the matching funds for the acquisition project. Using the "donated value" of the homeowners' property in lieu of local match requirements is exclusively the city's decision, and the homeowners' decision to donate the local share is strictly voluntary.
Federal law will still require the city to be responsible for its share of demolition and debris removal costs, as well as any other disaster recovery costs.