TEXAS CITY, Texas -- The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has awarded more than $20 million in hazard mitigation grants to the city of Galveston to acquire 64 homes that suffered extensive damage as a result of Hurricane Ike.
One $15.3 million grant was obligated to Galveston for authorities to acquire 46 residential properties located in the 100-year floodplain. Another grant provides $5.4 million to be used for the acquisition of 18 properties in the 100-year floodplain.
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.
"With these grants we are helping to move dozens of families out of harm's way," said Federal Coordinating Officer Brad Harris. "By removing the structures and ensuring no others are built at those locations, we also are keeping history from repeating itself."
As part of the agreement among the city of Galveston, the state and FEMA, the spaces where the homes once sat will be returned to their natural state and left open. The spaces may become residential parks or natural open areas.
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.
"These acquisitions show the commitment among local, state and federal government officials to speed recovery and protect lives in Galveston," said State Coordinating Officer Ben Patterson.
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.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.