How flooded out homeowners can apply for assistance -

How flooded out homeowners can apply for assistance

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Eureka subdivision (Credit: KMOV) Eureka subdivision (Credit: KMOV)

When disaster strikes like our recent flooding, the Federal Emergency Management Agency known as FEMA steps in.

Between 1997 and 2014, FEMA purchased 529 properties impact by the Meramec River in Jefferson and Franklin counties. The cost to taxpayers has been more than $9 million.

Since 2015, new federal grants were awarded to Arnold, Sunset Hills, Fenton and Wildwood.

Another $1.2 million will be designated for the purchase of 12 new properties.

FEMA states homeowners who live in flood hazard areas can receive federal assistance once. After that they must maintain flood insurance. But lawmakers say the National Flood Insurance Program faces its own problems because of hurricanes on our coasts.

The program “is in the red now billions of dollars as a result of Katrina and Sandy” said U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

McCaskill says before spending on buyouts, flood maps showing who risk is at the most need to be updated. She says the latest federal budget proposal cuts more than $100 million for updated mapping.

“Right now it would be hard for us to know who we should buy out other than looking at common sense areas that flood over and over again,” said McCaskill.

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-MO says he favors a bill that will spend $16 million reviewing flood control policies on the Mississippi River and its tributaries, but he didn’t want to commit to more buyouts without more information.

FEMA confirms buyouts are voluntary. The local jurisdiction and the state determine areas for prospective buyout based on Repetitive Loss and Severe Repetitive Loss in that area. Homeowners in these areas have the option to participate once the area has been selected.

If homeowners are interested in the buyout program, they may contact their Local Emergency Management Office who can put them in touch with the State Hazard Mitigation Program.

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