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Municipalities Compete Against Each Other For FEMA Hazard Mitigation Funds

Program has limited federal funds to help with elevating, demolishing and relocating storm-damaged homes.

Get on the list. Now.

That was the advice FEMA Hazard Mitigation Specialist Jillian Stokley had for Berkeley storm victims at an informational session last night at the Berkeley Township Elementary School.

Stokley had a special connection with the hundreds of displaced residents who attended the meeting.

"Until recently, I lived in South Seaside Park," she told the crowd. "But not now."

Funds for FEMA's Hazard Mitigation program are limited. Municipalities throughout the state will compete against each other for the federal funding used for elevation, demolition or acquisition, she said.

The program is separate from the National Flood Insurance Program's Increased Cost of Compensation program, which pays up to $30,000 to elevate homes that have been deemed more than 50 percent damaged from Superstorm Sandy.

Only municipalities can apply to be considered for the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Residents must inform the township if they want to be considered for the funding.

"The township must apply on your behalf," she said told the audience..

The township's letter of intent is sent to the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, which in turns sends it on to the state Office of Emergency Management. The state OEM makes the final determination about which communities will receive the federal funds, then sends the recommendations on to FEMA, she said.

But the funds are limited, Stokley said.

"The amount of need is a lot greater than the amount of the funding," she said.

Residents who are eligible for the ICC program can also ask to be considered for Hazard Mitigation grant money to help with the cost of elevating their homes, if the cost exceeds the maximum ICC grant of $30,000.

But if homeowners want the Hazard Mitigation funds and are deemed eligible,  they should delay raising their homes until they receive the money, Stokley said.

"If you have already elevated, you've excluded yourself from the program," she said.

TerriLynn January 24, 2013 at 07:21 PM
Yes but we need to do something now!!! We can't any longer!!!! We can't wait to see if our community makes the list and then be told two or three years down the line that we are not eligible for the grant. Another delay to get screwed....
Library Lady--Karla Ivarson January 24, 2013 at 10:41 PM
I couldn't agree more TerriLynn. What if the next big storm hits before the money gets sorted out and we can lift our homes?
foggyworld January 25, 2013 at 03:47 AM
It's even more complicated. The area I live in is now a class V area even though the few houses on pilings were barely damaged compared to the majority of homes that were built on slabs on the dirt level. It doesn't seem fair for towns not to actually look at what happened in an area. Soon most of the houses around here will be on pilings and then one wonders, will we be taken off that very high risk level which proved not to apply to hurricane prevention built houses? But the biggest problem people are having is in this delay, delay, delay business. Out of 44 homes, not one has heard back from an insurance company and often people don't know if they should or want to take the FEMA FLOOD INSURANCE (now an SBA Loan) because they have no idea what they need. All of these plans and committees and commissions have avoided working with real people who are spending their lives on paperwork and phone calls and getting nothing but migraines in return. There are too many things that were put off by the State, counties and towns to now be turned into concrete rules and codes and ratings overnight. So mistakes will be made and even with learning to live with that, someone in the Governor's office needs to start from the bottom up as opposed to what is going on. Even normal rain is making things get moldy and further deteriorating damage from the Storm. What could have been done months ago, is being ruled out by decay. Sad.
foggyworld January 25, 2013 at 04:06 AM
One very disturbing thing is happening. Folks are walking away because they can't afford to pay mortgages and somewhat reduced taxes along with the many costs attached to being displaced. FEMA provides housing - but not often close to people's jobs so to hold onto that work, folks have to go out on their own and find a place to stay until they get the answers they need. And understand that those who have had to move out in many cases lost all of their clothing and other items that they need just to function. People who have been displaced need to be able to look at the amount of money they will be receiving from homeowner's insurance before they can make prudent decisions. Remember, existing mortgages just don't fade away so whatever the insurance shortfall is going to be combined with any new loans is how folks can properly calculate if they can afford to return. I see now there are grants for pilings that folks who left two weeks ago didn't even know about. Believe me, most want to come back but the intense frustration coupled with watching their houses disintegrate further as the months go by, is making too many say, "It's time to move on and out and get our lives back." That hurts everyone in town because when they leave they no longer are part of the ratable base. Just how long do FEMA LOANS and Homeowner's policy writers have to tell their CUSTOMERS what is going on? And how did FEMA flood INSURANCE turn into a loan from the SBA?
brokeninbayville January 25, 2013 at 02:56 PM
FEMA flood insurance didn't turn into an SBA loan. What does stink is that if you apply and receive Sba $, and then you receive your flood insurance $, that flood insurance $ MUST be given to Sba because it is a federally back loan. Then you have to make sure your bank releases the money to you! I can understand the banks want To secure their interest in your home, but they need to distribute more than they do to pay the contractors. More than a bit frustrating......also, if the township doesn't let us raise our houses above the FEMA and freeboard levels for our own security, we will not be able to take advantage of the even lower rates available to us! Bend over Sandy rebuilders, we are going to take it you know where........
TerriLynn January 25, 2013 at 03:48 PM
I havent heard anything about havibg to pay back the sba loan with the insurance money. We are approved snd they gave me my terms nothing mentioned sbout that. I spoke with a sba rep the other night at the berkeley seminar and he didnt say anything either. He gave us alot of great info too. But they are giving us s problem with the amount of contents insurance I have. I dont understsnd what the loan officer said and I am trying to get to the bottom of it. Still waiting for someone to call me. This is all so rediculous. If we are noe being forcef to raise our homes, we should get some kind of help from our town, state, and federal gov. Not have to "borrow" money n pay out of our pockets.
George Kasimos January 29, 2013 at 05:19 AM
FEMA thanks for nothing again concerning the limited Mitigation funds. I have started fwww.acebook.com/StopFemaNow We need to band together and bring the fight to them. We can longer sit and wait for them!
George Kasimos January 29, 2013 at 05:19 AM
www.facebook.com/StopFemaNow

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