BEAVER, W. Va. -- After a major disaster, state and local governments look for ways to protect lives and property in case another event occurs. This is called “hazard mitigation.”
President Obama’s disaster declaration for the March severe storms, flooding, mudslides and landslides that affected six counties in West Virginia includes a provision making funding available from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, often called by its initials HMGP.
Individual homeowners and businesses may not apply directly to the program; however a community may apply on their behalf.
"We are already hearing from communities that want to participate," said State Coordinating Officer Jimmy Gianato, Director of the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, which administers the program.
Greenbrier County held a public meeting in Rainelle on April 26. Raleigh County has one scheduled next week for residents to hear about ‘buyouts’ – the acquisition part of the grant program.
Interested homeowners in Raleigh County can attend the meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 18, at the Beaver Volunteer Fire Department, 147 3rd St., Beaver, WV 25813. Homeowners also can contact Clayton Terry, administrative assistant for the Raleigh County Commission, by phone at 304-255-9173 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"HMGP pays for projects that provide a cost-effective, long-term solution to a problem," Federal Coordinating Officer Terry L. Quarles said. "The money may be used to protect either public or private property or to purchase property that has been repetitively damaged or in danger of being damaged again and again."
The acquisition program is voluntary and homeowners are paid a pre-flood fair-market value. Land purchased with HMGP funds must remain open space in perpetuity.
Under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the state prioritizes and selects project applications, which are developed and submitted by local jurisdictions. The state forwards applications consistent with state objectives to FEMA. If a project complies with all eligibility criteria and environmental review, FEMA can fund 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project, with the remainder paid by state and local sources.
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.