Parish to purchase hazardous property from eligible residents

November 15, 2007 at 9:27 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Emergency Operations senior coordinator Jason Tastet says eligible homeowners in the parish will benefit from hazard mitigation funds, a program put in place to purchase property that is prone to flooding.

"We received money because of Hurricane Katrina through FEMA," he said. "10  percent of every day that was declared  a disaster due to the hurricane was given back to the state  in the form of mitigation funds."

Tastet says the purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

"Once we get the money we are able to use it under the guidelines the state has set," he said. "Our funding is being used on severe damaged homes."

Tastet says a  cost analysis is done on each property and how much losses they sustained.

"There are 13 properties in St. Charles Parish that meet the federal government requirements to be on that list," he said "We went out and approached the homeowners about the mitigation."

Tastet said the homeowners who are eligible were given three options.

Their home could be elevated, allowing floodwater to flow under the house rather than through it.
Another option is to have the federal government purchase the structure, making it  parish property.

"If the homeowner takes this option, the acquisition of (and either demolishing or relocating)  the flood-prone homes and the property would return to open space," Tastet said. "The parish would become the new owner of the property."

The third option is called reconstruction or demo-rebuild,  where the houses are torn down and rebuilt.

"Retrofitting buildings to minimize damage from high winds, flooding, and other hazards," Tastet said. "FEMA and other organizations have worked to develop model code requirements and building guides to aid in the process."

Tastet says the way the program works is the homeowner puts up 25 percent of the funds and the federal government contributes 75 percent.

"We have an agreement with the Louisiana Recovery Authority to put up the 25 percent required by the owner if FEMA puts up the other 75 percent.

“That’s how they get 100 percent financing.”

The open or (green) space is an area that will no longer be used for development of any kind.

"Once the property has been vacated and cleared away and the house on the property has been demolished, the parish retains the use of it and nothing is rebuilt in that spot," Tastet said.

To find out more information about the Hazard Mitigation Program, contact the Emergency Operations Center at 985-783-5050.

View other articles written Shonna Riggs

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