November 22, 2017

FEMA Flood Buyout Through Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program

“Claudia Boyce discusses the changes, loss, and growth that has occurred since the flood of 1993. After its disaster, the Federal Management Agency ( FEMA ) put together an effort to relocate over 400 families to higher grounds outside of the town. The effort has cost over $2 billion dollars and many believe it is responsible for bringing an end to more than 3,000 communities. Coming from what is known as the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Competitive Grant Program, the money has continued to cost taxpayer dollars. A fear of future floods on the horizon hits a sour spot as she considers the millions of dollars it will cost Americans to secure another round of property buyouts. Whether to rebuild or relocate remains a hot-button issue, but professionals are beginning to question the risks and costs of moving entire towns.

The original floods in 1993 cost 32 lives and over $15 billion dollars, but since then the relocation grant has continued to draw money and buy properties. Though there are many who believe this is actually money well spent, others don’t see the silver lining when they look at the huge sums that Missouri has continued to pull from their wallets. You can argue whether or not this was the right choice, but that still will not change what has happened. What the people of FEMA must do now is decide whether or not they will continue to run the flood buyout program if another disaster strikes. Should the PDM-C simply draw more millions from the dedicated taxpayers, or should they find another solution that will keep the communities together, while not having such a high dollar amount?

This issue arises because flood waters are looking more and more likely within the near future. The Mississippi river has reached record crest levels all the way down to the coast. As a result, the government was forced to open several spillways that brought forth torrential water atop several homes in the area. A continually spiraling weather pattern shows more heavy loads of rain and snow bringing floods over from the West. Executive director states that FEMA will most likely only pursue another round of buyouts if an entire town or neighborhood is available, rather than splitting the occupants across the area once again. Whether or not they have learned from their mistakes, we will soon find out.”

Learn more, click here:

Associated Press

Discussing Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant

Missouri Leads FEMA Buyout With Record Costs

History and Description of FEMA

Lives Saved by the FEMA Missouri Buyout

FEMA Causes Flood Insurance Confusion

“Once again the Federal Emergency Management Agency has come under fire for its actions during a state of emergency. Residents along the Missouri river whose homes are being threatened by the rising waters are receiving contradicting information from FEMA and insurance companies. According to local officials FEMA has recommended home owners purchase flood insurance that will not necessarily cover damage caused by the Missouri flood, and are pushing agents to sell that type of insurance policy despite the uncertainty surrounding it.

FEMA Causes Flood Insurance Confusion

There are many people who found themselves surrounded by water without insurance because they live in areas that are characteristically dry. Officials are stressing the importance of insurance to those who are still downstream of the flood but citizens are reluctant to invest in insurance without a guarantee that their property will be fully insured. Mr. Roger Bruning, who purchased insurance in the beginning of June, was under the impression that his new acquired policy for his home in Orrick, Missouri, would pay for all damages. His insurance agent, Richard Wharton of Excelsior Springs, Missouri, assured him that the policy would be in effect if a flood hit but less than a week later the agent called back to say it would not.

The reason for this backtracking was FEMA declaring June 1 as the first day of the flooding. The current waiting period for policies to go into affect is thirty days, that meant May 2nd was the cut off date leaving numerous new policy holders out in the cold. Home owners are seeking help for an impossible situation, living in areas where flood insurance is not needed on normal occasions should they still be subject to the thirty day wait period?

Insurance agents are desperate for answers for their clients but are quick to point out that they were not to blame for giving out misleading information. The blame is placed on FEMA’s shoulders for not giving out the proper information in a timely manner. FEMA has not offered many answers. Although they continue to stress the importance of being prepared and encourage all home owners on the river to commit to long term flood coverage.”

Find out more, visit:

Boston.com

FEMA faces House heat for taking over flood insurance policies

Insurance groups say FEMA is confusing landowners along Missouri River about flood coverage

Rash of disasters raising concerns about emergency response resources

FEMA Denies Storm Damage Assistance in Indiana

“According to the Department of Homeland Security in Indiana, the Federal Emergency Medical Agency (FEMA) is denying storm damage assistance to private citizens and businesses that were effected by the recent Bloomington, Indiana tornado. FEMA is helping with storm damage assistance within Monroe County after President Obama made aid available. The tornadoes fell within the disaster zone so they can be reimbursed for up to 75% of assistance.

FEMA Denies Storm Damage Assistance in Indiana

The storms took place in April and May of 2011, and had winds that reached up to 110 miles per hour. The disaster declaration only assists local government and some non profits, since help is given on a “”cost sharing basis”" according to FEMA.”

More information:

Indiana Daily Student

Indiana Daily Star: FEMA help pay for Monroe County Storms

FEMA Sets Up 3 Disaster Recovery Centers in Vermont

“Following recent flooding in Vermont, and a declaration of disaster in several counties, FEMA is opening three disaster centers. Each of these centers is staffed with eight workers and will offer help from representatives from FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration. These representatives are there to help those who have suffered losses due to the floods.

FEMA Sets Up 3 Disaster Recovery Centers in Vermont

The workers in these centers are stationed with computers and telephones while they wait to assist walk-in customers throughout the day. Several dozens of people have walked into these new centers since they opened only weeks ago.

At these DRCs (Disaster Recovery Centers), those affected by the floods in the counties of Addison, Chittenden, Essex Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille and Orleans can apply for low-interest loans providing their financial information. Customers are under no obligation to accept the loans that are offered, but they get the benefit of learning about their options. Customers who don’t qualify for one of these loans may be eligible for a government grant. Applications at these centers are being processed swiftly, and in many cases, in less than two weeks.

Small Business Administration representatives are available to help customers not only fill out their loan applications, but also record information about their financial assets and the damage the floods have caused to their property.

After a customer completes an application, the next step in the process is that a FEMA inspector pays a visit to their home or business in order to evaluate the damage and make a determination on the amount of financial assistance that will be extended.

Those interested in financial assistance can also call FEMA directly or register online. People may find it more beneficial to talk to someone in persona and have their questions answered. Visitors to the DRCs can also find information about housing and rental assistance information.

These DRCs are a one-stop shop for anyone in these affected areas who is seeking guidance and government assistance. Many people who have visited have already gained valuable help and information from DRC workers. With so many options including phone, online and in-person help, the people in need will have no trouble finding the aid that they seek.”

Additional information at:

FEMA

FEMA Locator

St. Albans Messenger Collection of Stories

St. Albans Messenger Article

FEMA Denies Tornado Aid for Minneapolis

“The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) denied individual aid to individuals who suffered property damage in the May, 22, 2011 tornado in Minneapolis. When does FEMA grant individual aid? What does individual aid cover? What doesn’t it cover?

FEMA Denies Tornado Aid for Minneapolis

* FEMA aid replaces items not covered by home owner’s insurance and flood insurance. This includes aid to replace personal vehicles, medical expenses and personal possessions.

* FEMA aid is given if the grants are required to rebuild an area and help it recover. Poor areas without sufficient local charities to meet the needs of survivors get priority from the limited FEMA budget. Wealthier areas with more charitable backing and local emergency budgets receive little to nothing.

* Individuals with insurance must first file an insurance claim before FEMA will grant individual aid. FEMA will then issue aid if warranted for expenses and repairs insurance will not cover. Repairs to a home to make it livable for someone who does not have home owner’s insurance or whose home owner’s insurance does not cover water damage can receive individual aid. A vacation home will not be covered. Flood damage from a sudden storm can require a replacement vehicle to get to and from work. Extra cars, recreational vehicles and ATVs will not be considered in requests for aid. Medical bills must first be submitted for health insurance coverage before the remainder can be filed under individual aid.

* When a disaster area is declared, aid becomes available. Individuals must live in the affected area to receive individual aid. The claim for individual aid must be tied to an address in the affected area. This will be verified during the inspection.

* Keep receipts of your expenses. These receipts are required to prove how the money was used or to receive individual aid for expenses already incurred. Disaster related expenses are covered. Retain records that prove that the expenses were related to the disaster because audits can go back up to three years after the incident.

* Disaster loans are available to businesses located in the area. If someone has both a home and a business in the affected area, they can file for both a disaster assistance loan and individual aid. However, individual aid cannot be used to start a new business.”