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Posted on: May 3, 2021

FLOOD PRONE HOMEOWNERS INVITED TO LEARN ABOUT FEMA’S MITIGATION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

graphic of small wooden game houses with water on them

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 with these costs. The grant opportunity is anticipated to open in September 2021. While the 2021 requirements have not been published yet, Monroe County wants to help residents prepare early. The program is available for those in unincorporated Monroe County and cities within the Florida Keys.

The program is an annual competitive grant program that provides funding to the County if approved by the Florida Division of Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Funds are for projects that reduce or eliminate the risk of repetitive flood damage to buildings insured by the NFIP. The FMA funds projects that reduce future flood losses. These may include elevating (lifting) your home, selling your home and land to the County and returning the land to its natural state, or demolishing your home and rebuilding an NFIP-compliant insured structure.

Monroe County’s objectives are:

  • reduce or eliminate repetitive flood damage to individual homes
  • work with homeowners throughout the County to develop applications to secure funding for elevations, acquisition, relocation, and reconstruction of homes.

Individual property owners apply for funding through Monroe County. Monroe County is the applicant. The County reviews all applications and submits them to FEMA for final approval. The FMA program has many requirements. Not all project costs are eligible, but the result can be a flood resilient home.

Notable program requirements include:

  • Participation in the application process and grant program is voluntary.
  • 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 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. 
  • If you choose elevation, the home must be elevated above base flood level.
  • 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.
  • Flood insurance must be maintained for the life of the structure if you choose elevation or demolition/reconstruction.  Note: once the home is elevated or rebuilt to flood requirements, the flood insurance cost is much less than a home below flood requirements.
  • Mitigation reconstruction is only permitted for structures outside of the Coastal High Hazard Area (Zone V) identified by the existing best available flood hazard data.
  • 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.

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. A voluntary interest application is available on the website in anticipation of the FDEM announcement.

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