ATLANTA, Ga. -- A verification of homes in part of the Hurricane Floyd buyout program is currently underway in North Carolina, FEMA officials said today. The verification will be combined with the standard eligibility reviews and is not expected to slow the processing of applications or affect already approved projects.
"More than 1,800 homes already have been approved for buyout and their status is not affected," Todd Davison, director of mitigation for FEMA Region IV, said. "The homes being verified are those included in projects funded by a special supplemental appropriation Congress approved for buyouts in the Floyd-affected states in late November."
Davison said that almost 600 of the more than 2,200 homes included in this category have already been checked and none appear to be outside the guidelines established for buyouts under the supplemental appropriation. Davison added that he expects that the verifications can be accomplished within two weeks and should be completed by the second week in August.
"We are working the verification into the normal processing procedures for these projects," he said. "We do not anticipate a slow down in approval or obligation of funds for buyouts in North Carolina."
Hurricane Floyd buyouts in North Carolina and other Floyd-affected states began late last year with mitigation funds attached to the Floyd declaration. At that time it appeared that Floyd mitigation funds would not be sufficient for the buyouts, so Congress earmarked an additional $215 million to purchase the flood-damaged homes. However the supplemental funds were restricted to "owner-occupied," "uninhabitable homes" in the "100-year floodplain" - restrictions that do not apply to mitigation funds normally associated with disaster declarations.
"It is important to note that FEMA is not questioning information provided by state and local governments," Davison said. "The verifications are designed to ensure the effective and appropriate administration of the supplemental funding." Local officials should be notified in advance of teams working in their community.