ORLANDO, Fla. – FEMA has approved a grant of $2,506,147 for the City of New Smyrna Beach to rebuild and elevate 17 single-family, flood-prone homes to reduce damage and loss from continuous severe flooding during a storm.
Funding from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) was approved in response to a proposal by the city after Hurricane Irma in 2017. The grant covers the demolition and reconstruction of hazard-resistant homes built on the same location. These homes will be elevated to a minimum required height of 1.5 feet above the highest known flood level, plus 3 additional feet to account for sea level rise. Electrical and mechanical equipment will be elevated outside of the homes.
The HMGP is an important source of federal disaster assistance. Program funding may become available after the president declares a major disaster, with a goal of strengthening communities by improving buildings and critical infrastructure. A 2018 report by the National Institute of Building Sciences found that one dollar spent on hazard mitigation saves more than six dollars of recovery and rebuilding costs.
Generally, the HMGP may provide a state, tribe or territory with additional grants up to 15 percent of the total disaster grants awarded by FEMA for a federally declared disaster. States such as Florida that meet advanced mitigation planning criteria may qualify for a higher percentage.
Florida has a FEMA-approved Enhanced Mitigation Plan, making the state eligible for HMGP funding not to exceed 20 percent of the estimated total amount of grant money spent by FEMA in the Hurricane Irma disaster. From this amount, the HMGP reimburses the state up to 75 percent of eligible costs for hazard mitigation projects. The remaining amount comes from other sources such as state and local assets and a combination of cash and in-kind sources.
FEMA’s mission is helping people before, during, and after disasters.