AUSTIN, Texas -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded an $8 million hazard mitigation grant to Jefferson County for the acquisition of 87 residential properties that suffered extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Ike flooding.
FEMA has obligated $8,090,783 of the total project cost of $10,787,710 for the home acquisitions in the city of Beaumont.
"With this grant we are helping to move dozens of families out of harm's way," said Federal Coordinating Officer Brad Harris. "Furthermore, by removing the structures and ensuring no others are built at those locations, we're keeping history from repeating itself."
As part of the agreement among the city of Beaumont, the state and FEMA, the space where the homes once sat will be returned to the environment and left open. The space may become a residential park or a natural open area.
"These acquisitions show the commitment among local, state and federal government officials to speed recovery and protect lives in Jefferson County," said State Coordinating Officer Joan Haun.
The funds are being made available to the state of Texas through the state-administered Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). The state then assigns the available FEMA funding to qualified local projects. The funds are provided on a cost-share basis, with the HMGP covering 75 percent of the project cost and the remainder coming from the state, the applicant or other sources.
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. By acquiring the proposed properties, Jefferson County will remove the flood-prone structures from the floodplain, thereby eliminating future damages and health and safety risks for those homeowners and any potential rescuers.
Cost savings to federal taxpayers following HMGP acquisitions include those associated with emergency response services, subsidized flood insurance and federal disaster assistance to the residents.
FEMA leads and supports the nation in a risk-based, comprehensive emergency management system of preparedness, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation, to reduce the loss of life and property and protect the nation from all hazards including natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other man-made disasters.