GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Homeowners who have flooded more than once in Ascension Parish are being offered another option that would not require them to move.
People who own property on E Silverleaf St. in Gonzales are considering federal opportunities that would require them to sell or elevate their homes. Joe West is one of them. "When I came out this morning, the water was another five to six foot in here," said West.
You would think West would have gotten used to seeing water flood his yard. He has been living at the lowest end of E Silverleaf St. for nearly 29 years now. He says his house has flooded three times, but the August flood really put him on edge.
"You're sitting in the house and it's pouring down rain and you look out the window and the water is coming up in your yard. It makes you awful nervous," said West.
He's got enough sandbags on hand to protect his investment, but battling Mother Nature every time it rains is taking a toll on him. "I'm getting tired of fighting it. I've been doing it for over 28 years. I'm getting old in age. I'm getting where I can't fight the water anymore," said West.
The City of Gonzales recently asked homeowners on E Silverleaf to consider a plan in which the federal government (USDA) would buy their properties, but many of the people 9News spoke with said they would rather stay put. Now the Ascension Parish government is now offering them a chance to take a different route.
"I think this is a great opportunity for homeowners to stay in their communities, in their home," said Martin McConnell, Ascension Parish spokesman.
McConnell is referring to a flood hazard mitigation program funded by FEMA. In a letter the parish sent to residents last week, homeowners who have flooded more than once are being asked to apply for the gr ant program. It would require them to cover 25 percent of the cost to raise their homes. FEMA would cover the rest.
"We will allow you to pick you own contractor and we make the payments to the contractor and then afterwards, we are reimbursed by the state through GOHSEP," said McConnell.
West estimates his cost would be at least $10,000. He says at this point, he is waiting on his house to be appraised before weighing his options.
"It all boils down to the finances. If I am financially able to move, that would probably be the best route to go," said West.
The gr ant application through the parish must be turned in by May 10. For more information, contact the Ascension Parish Gr ants Office at 225-450-1128.