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Posted on: October 20, 2021

ATTENTION FLOOD-PRONE HOMEOWNERS: LEARN MORE ABOUT FEMA’S FLOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

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Is your home below the required base flood elevation and at risk of flooding, or has it flooded in the past, and you’ve filed a flood insurance claim with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)? If so, you may be interested in grant funding to elevate, demolish and reconstruct your home, or sell your home.

Monroe County is participating in the national Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant program to help homeowners elevate or reconstruct their homes to guard against future flooding. You may also apply to sell your home and land to the local government in which it is located. The application period to apply for the fiscal year 2021 FMA grant program funding is open until 6 p.m. on Nov. 9, 2021. Applications submitted after this deadline will not be considered for funding. This is a competitive, nationwide, annual program. The program is available for any homeowner who lives in the Florida Keys.

Your home must be insured by the NFIP at the time of application. The primary goal of the grant program is to reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to homes insured by the NFIP.

Individual property owners apply for funding through Monroe County. Monroe County staff will work with homeowners to develop their application to secure funding for elevations, acquisition/relocation, and reconstruction of homes. Monroe County then applies to the State of Florida and the State of Florida applies through FEMA. This process does take time and the County wants to make sure applicants know the process is a long one, sometimes taking 2-3 years. 

Notable program requirements include:

  • Participation in the application process and grant program is voluntary.
  • Your home must be insured by NFIP at time of application. 
  • The estimate to elevate or demolish/reconstruct must have a positive cost benefit ratio, according to FEMAs guidelines. Staff will assist applicants in this determination.
  • The program is a match program. TYPICALLY, the federal government provides 75 percent, and the homeowner is required to provide 25 percent of the funding. 
  • The homeowner contracts with contractors of their choice to complete the project and therefore, the program will be on a reimbursement basis. 
  • The grant provides funding for eligible project costs. All eligible project costs, such as materials, labor, permits, and design, should be part of the project budget. County staff will work with you to assist in determining eligible costs. 
  • Work on the project may only begin in coordination with Monroe County after an approved grant agreement is awarded. No construction or demolition can happen before the award of the grant.
  • Elevation and demolition/reconstruction require flood insurance to be maintained for the life of the structure.  Note: once the home is elevated or rebuilt to flood requirements, the flood insurance cost is much less than an existing home below flood requirements.

Elevation Specific Requirements:

  • If you choose elevation, the home must be elevated above base flood level.
  • The home must be structurally sound to elevate. 
  • There is no maximum amount of funding for the elevation program.

Demolition/Reconstruction Requirements:

  • If you choose demolition/reconstruction, the square footage (SF) of the resulting structure shall be no more than 10 percent greater than that of the original structure. For example, if your existing structure was 1000 SF, then the new structure could be no more than 1,100 SF.
  • Eligible demolition/reconstruction costs are limited to a $150,000 grant; however, some administrative costs such as permitting fees, design costs may not be included in the $150,000 maximum
  • Demolition/reconstruction is only permitted for structures outside of the Coastal High Hazard Area (Zone V) identified by the existing best available flood hazard data.

Sell/Demolition Requirements:

  • If you choose to sell you property, it will be for appraised market value.

 

Fair Insurance Rates for Monroe (FIRM) has more information about elevating homes including educational videos, sample projects, and completed elevation projects in Key West. FIRM has also posted information about contractors who have done elevation work in Monroe County. The website is https://firmkeys.org/keyswide-home-elevation-education-project. For more information and details on the program, visit www.monroecounty-fl.gov/floodmitigation or call Monroe County’s Mitigation Administrator Mike Lalbachan at 305-453-8796.

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