Residents who want to take advantage of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation program to elevate their homes have a very short window to file.
Check with Manchester or Lakehurst officials to see where applications can be picked up. Click here to take you to the form.
Hazard Mitigation program funds are limited. Municipalities throughout the state will compete against each other for the federal funding used for elevation, demolition or acquisition, a FEMA official said at a recent informational seminar.
The program is separate from the National Flood Insurance Program's Increased Cost of Compensation (ICC) program, which pays up to $30,000 to elevate homes that have been deemed more than 50 percent damaged from Superstorm Sandy.
Only municipalities can apply to be considered for the federal Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Residents must inform the township if they want to be considered for the funding, since the township will apply on their behalf.
A township's letter of intent is sent to the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, which in turns sends it on to the state Office of Emergency Management. The state OEM makes the final determination about which communities will receive the federal funds, then sends the recommendations on to FEMA, she said.
From FEMA and local officials:
• This is a “competitive” program and funds for the entire program will be limited to a statewide maximum amount which has not yet been determined. No criteria has been established thus far to determine funding priorities. There is no maximum individual amount to apply for. The reality is that funding will be limited and it is likely that a large percentage of residents will not be able to receive funding once the funds run out. But FEMA urges all interested homeowners to apply.
• For homeowners considering raising their homes, FEMA has advised that, in order to qualify, you would have to raise your home to the base flood elevation (BFE) shown in the FEMA Advisory Base Flood Elevation maps issued in December, regardless of whether those elevations ultimately change or not if the maps are revised.
• Under the current FEMA guidelines, funds are NOT available for rebuilding of homes.
• Under the current FEMA guidelines, property owners are NOT eligible for reimbursement for work already performed. Approval must be granted in advance of any construction.
• Under the program guidelines, grants are limited to 75 percent and homeowners will be responsible for a 25 percent match. You are eligible to apply for funding even if you received assistance under the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program and funds received under the ICC program CAN be used as part of the required match.
• Assistance under this program is NOT limited to your primary residence.
• FEMA has not set a definitive time frame for the program, but it's likely it will be six months before funds are available.