FEMA, MOHSEP offering to buy or elevate houses in flood prone areas of EBR Parish

FEMA, MOHSEP offering to buy or elevate houses in flood prone areas of EBR Parish
Dale Cheney has had to rebuild her house four times after floodwaters swept through her house. She’s eligible to either raise her house above flood stage or sell the house to East Baton Rouge Parish to move to higher ground but Cheney said she is staying put. (Source: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - More than 600 homeowners across East Baton Rouge Parish who live in areas that have flooded repeatedly have the opportunity to either elevate their homes above flood stage or sell and move to higher ground.

The Flood Mitigation Assistance program is being offered by FEMA to the parish in an attempt to keep people from having to pay increasing flood insurance rates and having to rebuild after a flood.

“If your house has flooded over two times and you’ve made claims on that then you could qualify for this program,” said Clay Rives, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The program has been around for five years. To date, the program has purchased 106 homes across the parish.

Previously the only option was to sell your house to the parish if you decided to partake in the program, but this year FEMA is offering homeowners the chance to raise their homes above flood stage.

“If your house is in a flood-prone area but you don’t want to leave, you like your neighborhood, you like your house, you like your neighborhood and you just want to stay there but again it’s under the flood, your flood insurance is high, the program will come in, you get three bids from state contractors, Louisiana licensed contractors, and if it qualifies they can raise our home,” Rives said.

If homeowners choose to sell, MOHSEP will purchase the house, the demolish it, removing any trace of a house being on the property, turning it into a green space.

“This year what we’re looking for is houses that if you have a neighbor that has already sold their house and it’s a green space now and your house meets the qualifications, we’d like to purchase that because what we’re looking for are other mitigation strategies for like retention areas or some place we can help with our drainage in East Baton Rouge Parish,” Rives said.

There is a list of criteria homeowners must meet before they can be considered for the program. Rives said he asks homeowners to contact his office for assistance in meeting the criteria.

For more information on the program, click here.

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