Commonwealth Awards $2.9 Million in Flood Mitigation Grants to City of Virginia Beach

January 9, 2018  //  

RICHMOND— The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) announced today that nine residential properties in flood-prone areas of Virginia Beach have been approved by FEMA to be elevated to reduce future flood damage using $2.9 million in federal flooding mitigation grants administered by VDEM. These grants are the latest efforts in VDEM’s work to bring more state and federal funds to the city and to streamline project management to assist homeowners and city officials with grant-funded projects.

“Building resilient communities is a critical component in our efforts to tackle the complex flooding issues facing Virginia Beach,” said Brian Moran, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security, who was designated by Governor Terry McAuliffe as Virginia’s Chief Resilience Officer. “Flood mitigation grants are important tools to have in the tool belt in order to put localities across the Hampton Roads region in better positions to succeed. VDEM continues to be a great resource to our local partners on the ground; providing assistance and guidance to financial opportunities from the federal government.”

“Residents of Virginia Beach have endured significant flooding events such as Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and rising sea levels will continue threatening to create more severe and more frequent flooding of parts of this community,” said Dr. Jeff Stern, VDEM’s State Coordinator of Emergency Management. “These grant funds will help protect vulnerable homes by reducing or eliminating the effects of repeated flooding.”

VDEM received this funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the FY16 Flood Mitigation Assistance grant program. VDEM administers funds for eligible projects that were submitted by localities through a competitive grant process. Individual homeowners, businesses and private nonprofits may apply for funding through the City of Virginia Beach and other localities to participate in this program.

These mitigation projects have been approved for 100 percent federal funding. Virginia Beach will manage these projects to elevate nine homes that have experienced severe repetitive flooding damage. The goal of these projects is to reduce claims to the National Flood Insurance Program, and protect the health and safety of residents while reducing the demand on city public safety resources during disasters.

“These grants represent another example of ways VDEM has been committed to improving its support to Virginia Beach and other jurisdictions across the Commonwealth. We have established regional offices across the Commonwealth, decentralization of 25 percent of our staff to directly support localities, and undergone a re-organization and reengineering our grant programs to make them transparent and stakeholder driven,” Stern said.

Other Notable Support to Virginia Beach Has Included:

  • A stakeholder-driven process for setting requirements and rating FEMA/DHS State Homeland Security Program grants on both competitive and non-competitive basis. Virginia Beach received over $275,000 of these funds since 2014.
  • VDEM facilitated a collaborative process that reduced competition between Hampton Roads jurisdictions for FEMA/DHS Port Security Grant Program funds provided by the U.S. Coast Guard and FEMA. As a result, grant awards to Virginia have gone from $800,000 annually to more than $2.7 million in 2017.
  • VDEM fought for the past three years to restore the FEMA/DHS Urban Area Security Initiative funding to Hampton Roads, which was funded at $1 million in 2017 by the Department of Homeland Security.

“VDEM’s advocacy on behalf of Virginia Beach continues to pay dividends for citizens of Hampton Roads,” Stern added. “VDEM records show combined grant totals to Virginia Beach since 2014 exceed $6.2 million. Additionally, and significantly, we also helped provide $6.8 million in FEMA Individual Assistance and $8.4 million for 23 FEMA Public Assistance projects to Virginia Beach citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.”

VDEM’s mitigation staff was instrumental in convincing FEMA headquarters to review and change a longstanding practice that all home elevation projects must be managed by the City of Virginia Beach. This was something that Virginia Beach had voiced as a concern for many years and had resulted in the city recusing itself from participating in these projects due to cost and financial risk in 2017. Now, under new guidelines, projects may be managed by homeowners who secure contractors. City officials are now developing new policies and procedures for these projects, which will govern how the $2.9 million in flooding mitigation awards will be managed using this homeowner-supervised process.

 

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