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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2009
Contact: Christina Stephens, christina.stephens@la.gov

State Offers Hundreds of Millions to Further Strengthen Homes Against Future Storm Damage
Individual Mitigation Measures Program Offers up to $7,500 for Road Home Applicants to Install Additional Safety Measures

BATON ROUGE, La. - Thousands of Louisiana homeowners affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita can now apply for grant funds of up to $7,500 to take small-scale measures to protect their homes from loss in future storms, including installing roof-tie downs and storm shutters.

"In the aftermath of the great damage caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita, preventing future home damage and loss is one of Louisiana's top priorities, which is why we are offering grants to help homeowners pay to install common sense protection like storm shutters," said Paul Rainwater, executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority.

"In Louisiana, we already have put more than $846 million on the ground to help our residents raise their homes, and these grants of up to $7,500 will help make homes even safer and stronger than they are now. Individual Mitigation Measures have always been considered the final phase of our rebuilding program and we are happy to be in a position to extend additional funding opportunities to those who wish to protect their homes."

The Individual Mitigation Measures program, originally a component of the state's Road Home program, is now administered using Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Beginning this week, the state is mailing forms to more than 100,000 Road Home applicants who selected "Option 1" to rebuild or repair their homes, requesting that they opt-in to the IMM program by March 10, 2010. Homeowners can also use this form to choose to participate in the Office of Community Development - Disaster Recovery Unit's HMGP Elevation program, which offers eligible homeowners up to $100,000 to elevate their homes.

Homeowners will work with mitigation analysts from the OCD-DRU Hazard Mitigation program, and not the Road Home program, for this funding. Homeowners who need information about Individual Mitigation Measures should call 1-877-824-8312, not the Road Home hotline.

Because of FEMA regulations surrounding how HMGP funds can be used and because these funds are offered as reimbursement, homeowners should not install or start work on Individual Mitigation Measures until speaking with a Mitigation Analyst and their home has been cleared by the program.

Homeowners who already completed Individual Mitigation Measures that they think are eligible for reimbursement should collect copies of receipts and invoices for the work, which will be necessary to move forward with the program.

The state will base individual grant awards on the type of Individual Mitigation Measure a homeowner takes. Because of federal law, the state also must ensure that it is paying homeowners for actual unmet needs and not duplicating a benefit already provided for the same purpose.

WHAT IS AN INDIVIDUAL MITIGATION MEASURE?
IMMs are small scale improvements homeowners can make to their properties to protect their investments in the event of future storms. Some examples of eligible work include:

  • Strengthening doors;
  • Protecting windows, including by installing storm shutters;
  • Bolting roofs to walls and walls to foundations;
  • Elevating electrical panels or air conditioning units;
  • Raising washers, dryers, hot water heaters or furnaces;
  • Anchoring propane tanks or heating fuel tanks.

Mitigation Analysts can provide homeowners with more detailed information about eligible mitigation activities.

DEADLINES
Homeowners must notify the state of their interest in the IMM program and the HMGP elevation program by March 10, 2010. To show interest, homeowners must return their forms to the state postmarked by March 10, 2010.

FOR MORE INFORMATION
Homeowners who need information can call the IMM hotline at 1-877-824-8312 or e-mail hazardmitigation@la.gov. Information is also available online at http://www.doa.louisiana.gov/cdbg/dr/hmgp/hmgp.htm.

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