With the help of more than $1.9 million from the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), Washington County will acquire and demolish 20 repetitively flooded residential properties in Chipley and Vernon. The federal funding is 75 percent of the total project cost and will use Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds that became available following Hurricane Michael which hit the region in October 2018.
Acquiring and demolishing these properties provides an effective, long-term solution to mitigate the risks and prevent future flood losses. After the structures are demolished, the communities will convert them to green space to conserve the natural floodplain and minimize future impacts from flooding.
FEMA provides grants to help communities eliminate or reduce disaster-related damage. The program uses a combination of federal and state funds to elevate, retrofit, relocate or acquire homes that risk repeated damage from flooding.
Following a major disaster, a percentage of total federal recovery grant funds is designated to develop more resilient communities. As Florida has an Enhanced Hazard Mitigation Plan, this means more funds are available for the post disaster mitigation programs. States with an enhanced plan receive HMGP funds based on 20 percent of the total estimated eligible Stafford Act disaster assistance.
The state and FEMA are reviewing additional projects to acquire and remove flood-prone properties. To date, FEMA has provided $11.9 million to Florida for post-Hurricane Michael Hazard Mitigation projects.