First on CNN: FEMA Will Provide Flood Prevention Funding to These 4 States Affected by Hurricane Ida

Beginning April 1, homeowners in Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Pennsylvania can apply for funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to rebuild or sell homes that have been flooded multiple times.

The funding — called the Swift Current Initiative — is designed to help homeowners upgrade or renovate their homes, relocate, or allow local and state governments to buy and demolish a home if it’s flooded too often.

The four states have been selected because they have the highest severe and repeated flood damage, according to a FEMA fact sheet.

“The Swift Current initiative represents FEMA’s commitment to quickly and equitably get risk mitigation funding to the communities that need it most,” FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell said in a statement. “President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill made this program possible, and we are excited to continue our work to make our country stronger, safer and more resilient to future disasters.”

Vice President Kamala Harris will also discuss funding Monday during a trip to Sunset, Louisiana.

Of the total $60 million for the program, Louisiana will receive the vast majority of funding. The Gulf Coast state will receive $40 million, New Jersey will receive $10 million, and Mississippi and Pennsylvania will each receive $5 million.

Ida was the costliest extreme weather event in the US last year, costing $75 billion and in the top five costliest US hurricanes since 1980.

The hurricane made landfall near Port Fourchon, about 10 miles southwest of Grand Isle, on Aug. 29, as a Category 4 with winds of up to 250 mph. The storm carved a destructive path through the south, after which its remnants swept into the northeast, causing deadly flooding.

Man-made climate change has made hurricanes more dangerous, scientists say. The storms move more slowly, produce more rain, and their storm surges get higher along the coast. Hurricane Ida was a prime example of those changes, and scientists say storms like these will become more frequent as the planet warms.
This is the first round of funding under Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill, which included a total of $3.5 billion in flood relief grants over the course of five years.

However, the agency may expand the program to other states after it evaluates the effectiveness of the first round of funding. And more funding will become available in the coming months for flood control aid through FEMA’s annual grant application process, according to the agency’s factsheet.

FEMA says the Swift Current funding will align with the Biden administration’s Justice40 initiative, with 40% of the benefits going to underserved communities. While FEMA typically pays 75% of the cost to rebuild flood-prone homes, they provide a higher cost share of 90% for buildings in “socially vulnerable” communities struggling to meet their cost-share match.

For the agency’s flood relief utility, they offer a 100% federal match for properties with severe repetitive loss (properties that flood over and over) and 90% for properties with repetitive loss (insurable properties with two or more National Flood Insurance claims). Program over $1,000).

The application period opens on April 1 and closes on October 3.

CNN’s Rachel Ramirez contributed to this report.

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