• 61°

MDA says first elevation grants going to qualified coast homeowners

Almost 3,000 Gulf Coast homeowners whose primary residences received damage from Hurricane Katrina’s storm surge will be receiving money to elevate their homes above new federal flood requirements, officials said.

Jon Mabry, who heads the Mississippi Development Authority’s Disaster Recovery Division, said Thursday that the first checks were mailed this week.

“We’re telephoning other homeowners to schedule closing on their applications,” he said.

The application period of the program, an extension of the Homeowner Assistance Program, ended March 15.

The elevation grant program is designed will help qualified homeowners meet federal requirement that homesites comply with environmental and building code mandates.

Mabry said approved applicants can get up to $30,000 for homesites where the geography demands they now elevate above new, post-Katrina federal flood regulations, better preparing for another hurricane.

“To do that, the federal government requires some very extensive environmental evaluations of each site involving everything from lead based paint assessments to determining whether each site may have historic and archaeological significance,” Mabry said.

MDA currently has teams from URS Corporation going to sites on site to do the certification at no charge to homeowners.

On the Net:

Mississippi Department Authority, http://www.mississippi.org