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Deadline to apply for mitigation funds swiftly approaching

If you own and live in a home that was significantly impacted by flooding during Hurricane Florence, next week is the deadline to submit an application to receive federal hazard mitigation grant funding to potentially elevate, buyout or take another action to protect your property from future floods.

In order for a property to be considered for the HMGP program, homeowners need to contact Beaufort County Emergency Services by noon on Tuesday by leaving a message at 252-940-6517 or emailing lisa.williams@co.beaufort.nc.us.

If you do not carry flood insurance, the need to take action is especially critical, according to Beaufort County Emergency Services Specialist Lisa Williams.

For those who filed a flood insurance claim after Florence, Williams says that the county already has access to a database of claims from which she can reach out to homeowners with unmet needs and build an application. For the uninsured, however, Williams says that her office may have no knowledge of those needs.

The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners reversed course on its earlier decision to not seek these funds during its January meeting, and on Jan. 14, the Washington City Council instructed its staff to pursue these funds as well, ensuring that city residents have an opportunity to participate.

The result of those decisions has been a cooperative effort between the city and the county to gather information and submit potential projects to FEMA — Beaufort County Emergency Services is processing those applications for all impacted properties in the county with support from local planning departments.

WHAT YOU NEED

In order to request an application:

  • Call 252-940-6517 leaving a message
  • Email the request to Williams@co.beaufort.nc.us
  • Pick up the application in person, weekdays from 8 am to 5 pm. at the front desk of the County Manager’s Office at 121 W. Third St.

Application package includes the following and all must be returned completed and signed:

  • Property site inventory — basic information about the house and damages
  • Declaration and release of citizenship
  • Model acknowledgement of conditions, which must be notarized

The owner must provide:

  • Flood elevation certificate if available
  • Flood insurance declaration page if insured
  • Flood proof of loss if insured. Written statement and documentation of flood damages if uninsured.
  • Four current exterior photos of the property in digital format labeled “front,” “right side,” “left side,” “back” and emailed to Williams@co.beaufort.nc.uswith the subject line as the address of the home.

IMPACT

During Hurricane Matthew, 502 pieces of property in Beaufort County were spared damages due to HMGP funding and projects, with total losses avoided ranging in the neighborhood of more than $22 million, according to the North Carolina ReBuildNC website.

While the HMGP program has helped pay for a number of buyouts and elevations in the county, Williams emphasized that the process of actually securing funds can take years, and not everyone who applies will be able to benefit from the limited pool of federal money.

“This is not immediate assistance,” Williams said. “This is the first step in a 24-36 month grant cycle and not everyone who applies will receive assistance.”

Williams added that while not all projects are funded, applications are retained for future reference, and Emergency Services has been building case files for local residents since Hurricane Irene.

“This is an ongoing process of keeping a database of homeowners in our county who live in areas impacted by flooding,” Williams said.