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FEMA Offering $20 Million in Grants to Make Coastal Homes Hurricane-Resistant

By Rhonda Miller | Published 12 Jul 2012 05:13pm | comments
L.J. Cuevas, front, and Cory Ladner install aluminum shutters in Long Beach as part of the Coastal Retrofit Mississippi project.

A FEMA program is offering more than $20 million for Gulf Coast residents to make their homes hurricane-resistant. MPB’s Rhonda Miller has more on the Coastal Retrofit Mississippi project.

Contractors are drilling into the brick around the window of this one-story home a couple of blocks from the water in Long Beach.  Dan Kelley is the local manager for Applied Research Associates, the state-designated contractor for Coastal Retrofit Mississippi.

"A common thing that we see on houses down in this area, and it’s unfortunate for a brick home like this, the attachment for a shutter actually has to go through the brick all the way into the wood stud behind."

The retrofit grant pays 75 percent of the cost for homeowners to strengthen their roofs, windows and doors. Coastal Retrofit Mississippi received a $22 million FEMA grant, administered by MEMA and the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration. 

Tim Pierce has lived in his Long Beach home since 1963.

"Every hurricane, we always seemed to have our major damages through our windows. In the past I used plywood. So I figured if I could get premade shutters, it would be something I could keep and use every time, from here on out."

Pierce is getting aluminum shutters that come in sections and are easy to put up. He’s discovered the 25 percent he’s paying for the retrofit cut down the cost of his homeowners insurance.

"In my particular case, it saves me $2,000 a year. So that was a real incentive. I think the price of what it’s costing me to do this job is roughly around $3,600 out-of-pocket. So I’m talking two years, I have it paid for. Then I continue to save the $2,000 from there on."

Project Manager Mike Ferdinand says the process does take some time for the engineering study and agency review.  He said homeowners have to put in the 25 percent up front.

"The 25 percent has to be held in escrow by the state before we can submit their applications for final approval. The range can fall anywhere between $2,000 and $7,000, where we’re seeing most homeowners come in at. We’ve seen them as high as $16,000 and as low as $800."

So far, 1,300 homeowners have applied for the project.




L.J. Cuevas, front, and Cory Ladner install aluminum shutters in Long Beach as part of the Coastal Retrofit Mississippi project.



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