(Washington, DC) — SmarterSafer.org today praised a $22 million grant program approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that will help strengthen homes on the Mississippi coast to withstand destructive winds. The federal grant, introduced by Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Thad Wicker (R-MS), will provide 25 percent of the cost for the retrofits according to a joint statement from the senators.
The grant will initially be offered to homeowners in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties and will be expanded to Pearl River, Stone and George counties if funds are available. It was originally requested by the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration.
“Mitigation efforts like these are the most cost-effective and best ways that the federal government can make the communities safer,” said Eli Lehrer, Vice President of Washington, DC Operations of The Heartland Institute. “If this effort proves successful, FEMA should seriously consider expanding this approach to other communities around the country.”
“When it comes to dealing with storms, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” said Steve Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense. “Leveraging federal funds with homeowner’s cash to protect against damaging winds makes sense from safety and taxpayer perspective.”
“Mitigation techniques include the protection of natural features such as berms and barrier islands that diminish storm surge, block winds and protect people and property,” said Joshua Saks, Senior Legislative Representative of Water Resources Campaigns of the National Wildlife Federation. “We hope that these grants will encourage all of these benefits.”
Projects to strengthen roofing systems and protect openings such as doors and windows are eligible for federal money. The mitigation initiative was approved one month before the Atlantic hurricane season, which begins June 1 and ends in November.
SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition made up of a diverse set of voices united to support environmentally-responsible, fiscally-sound approaches that promote public safety. The Coalition strongly opposes legislative proposals that encourage people to build homes in hurricane-prone, environmentally-sensitive areas by creating new programs that directly or indirectly subsidize their homeowner’s insurance.
Contact: Matt Englehart