Today, FEMA formally announced the opening of a 60-day exception period during which property owners who have completed or begun work that might qualify for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funds will be reviewed and evaluated. This is a rare case of the feds allowing money to go to someone after the work is done and without review of the work at the front end. It’s a necessity, though, under the circumstances.
Many homeowners wanted to get ahead of the game as they repaired their homes, by retrofitting them for future storm protection, elevating outdoor AC compressors, or more ambitiously, elevating the entire house. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and other parties wanted to make sure that there would be a strenuous public outreach and education effort during this period to try to minimize really harmful effects upon historic properties. In preparation for this effort, FEMA drafted news releases and information sheets, which all of us reviewed. The Trust and the PRC will be working with FEMA on a workshop or two to offer to interested property owners between now and March 16, the close of the exception period.
No one knows how many properties this will affect.