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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 03, 2010
Contact: Christina Stephens, christina.stephens@la.gov

State Reminds Homeowners of March 10 Deadline for Declaring Interest in Post-Katrina and Rita Elevation, Mitigation Funding
More than 40,000 homeowners have expressed interest in HMGP program

BATON ROUGE, La. - Homeowners affected by hurricanes Katrina and Rita who wish to participate in the state-run elevation and Individual Mitigation Measures program have until March 10, 2010 to return forms showing interest in the programs.

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.

In November 2009, the state mailed 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 also could 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 who submit their interest forms after March 10, 2010, may still receive funding, but only on a first come, first served, basis. March 10, 2010, is only the deadline for showing interest. It is not a deadline for completing or having started work.

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, homeowners should not install or start work on Individual Mitigation Measures until they speak with a Mitigation Analyst and their home has been cleared by the program. Homeowners who cannot afford the upfront costs associated with the program should request funding through the "Advance Payment Option," which offers "upfront" funds to complete mitigation work.

Homeowners who already completed work they think is eligible for reimbursement should collect copies of receipts and invoices for the work, which will be necessary to move forward with the program. Homeowners involved in the program should keep any contracts, receipts, invoices, building permits, elevation certificates and photos for review by program staff to establish eligibility.

The state will base individual grant awards on actual project costs 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, including Road Home funds or insurance settlements, 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. Homeowners who submit their interest forms after March 10, 2010, may still receive funding, but only on a first come, first served, basis.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Any Road Home Option 1 homeowner with questions about participation in the OCD-DRU HMGP can contact the program toll free at 1-877-824-8312 or email hazardmitigation@mitigatela.org.



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