- What is the source of the grant funds?
Grant funds originate with FEMA and are administered to Texas grant recipients (COH) through the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
- Who decides the schedules and requirements for the grant?
Because the grant is federally funded through the State, all the requirements for schedules, eligibility, scoring, contracting, etc. are established by FEMA and TWDB.
- Did the City get this grant because of the 2015 floods?
FEMA puts out a grant call each year with a limited amount of funds that are targeted to eliminate Repetitive Loss and Severe Repetitive Loss properties in the Floodplain. The 2015 call date occurred just after the Memorial Day floods by coincidence.
- Will I receive any direct funds or payouts?
Design, permitting and construction costs will be paid directly by the City to the pre-certified contractor selected for each home project. Details will be outlined in the agreement between the homeowner and the City. Payments for things such as temporary housing may be made directly to the Homeowner.
- Why is the City limited to only 10 active home elevations at a time?
The City requested, as a condition of the grant, to have the funds for the home elevations “pre-funded” from TWDB. With that condition, came a limitation of active home elevations at any given time. As the program goes forward, requests for additional active home elevations will be pursued.
- Does this mean that projects will be done in groups of 10?
As one active home elevation project is completed, another one can move to the active list from the 42 candidate homes.
- I decided to demolish my home and rebuild it, rather than elevate it. Can I use FMA funds for this purpose instead?
FMA funds may only be used for eligible home elevation costs.
- Will Alternates be moved to the Candidate list for this 2015 Home Elevation Project? If so, when?
Because the grant is based on a composite Benefit/Cost score, movement of any alternate to the Candidate list can only be done after recalculation of score and approval from Texas Water Development Board (TWDB).
- With whom will I enter into contracts?
Each property owner will enter into a contract with the City of Houston to outline the requirements for accepting the grant funding. Each owner will also enter into a contract (form prepared by the City) with the selected pre-certified contractor. Samples of each contract will be made available to property owners to review with their own attorney, if they so choose. However, the standard form will have been reviewed with the TWDB for the grant so changes to the forms are not expected.
- Will I be able to pick my elevation contractor?
Pre-qualified contractors will be invited to submit proposals on any home put into the program. The selection of the contractor will be a collaboration between the homeowner and the City to ensure that the proposal of the selected contractor is in compliance with the original grant application funding.
- How much is each home owner allotted for elevation?
There is not a specific cash payment for each property. The grant was based on estimated costs and square footage of houses. The actual costs proposed by the pre-certified contracting teams will be the basis for compensation.
- What is the order in which each home begins the elevation process?
Elevation project order will be based on the Benefit/Cost score for each home.
- When will my house be elevated?
The City of Houston will make every effort to initiate the elevation projects as soon as possible. The grant will limit the number of homes that can be in process at any one time so all 42 homes will not be initiated together. However, the contractor teams will have to be pre-certified via a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process that must comply with City, State and Federal procurement requirements.
- Approximately how long will each project take to complete?
Project length will depend on how complicated a house footprint/foundation is and the amount of lift required.
- Is there any information available on homes that have been “lifted” in other locations?
There have been a variety of projects of similar nature in various jurisdictions across the United States. Links and other information will be uploaded to the 2015 FMA grant page at Houstonrecovers.org.
- Will homeowners qualify if they have already begun repairs to their homes?
If your house is not substantially damaged you can obtain the required flood damage repair permits and start repair work at any time, the method of elevation planned for the City’s grant project is minimally invasive, the grant will pay for any needed repairs to restore any elevation related damage to the interior of your home. If your house is substantially damaged, you must include bringing your home into compliance as part of the repair project.
- Will there be any out-of-pocket costs to the homeowner?
Listed below is a list of eligible and ineligible costs
- Debris disposal and erosion control
- Costs for repair of lawns, landscaping, sidewalks, and driveways only if damaged by elevation activities
- Elevation of existing decks, porches, or stairs currently connected to the structure
- Construction of new basic wooden stairs, landings, and railings to access the elevated living space per minimum code or local ordinance
- Construction of ADA-compliant access facilities or ramp (eligible only if family member has permanent disability or a physician’s written certification)
- Documented reasonable living expenses (except food and personal transportation) that are incurred while the owner is displaced by the elevation construction
- Costs related to building additions or auxiliary structures
- Construction of new decks or porches
- Any upgrades beyond basic wooden stairs, landings and railings for egress/ingress
- Any improvements for purely aesthetic reasons, including HOA requirements
- Exterior finish on the exposed foundation of the elevated building including finishes or skirting
- Additional landscaping for ornamentation beyond those existing on site, prior to construction of the project (i.e. trees, shrubs, etc.)
- What is the remaining timeline for selecting contractors?
Estimated 2017 timeline for selecting contractors:
- January 27 & February 3 – RFQ Advertised
- February 23 – RFQ Due to City of Houston
- March 14 – Contractors Selected
- March 17 – Recommended Contractor list sent to TWDB Board for Review
- April 1 – 10 proposal packets on street
- Late April/Early May – 1st Contractor project start date
- Will temporary lodging assistance cover the full period of my construction contract?
The daily temporary living allowance is limited to the Federal Per Diem Rate for Harris County, TX at $135.00 per night for lodging and $50.00 daily for the dates temporary lodging is incurred. Temporary lodging is not to exceed a period of 56 nights at a maximum cost of $7,392.00 per homeowner.
- How will the City keep in touch with me during the process?
A separate email address and phone number are established for communicating with City staff during the course of the project.
2015-FMA Home Elevation Grant number: 832-395-3065
Check the 2015 FMA Grant webpage at Houstonrecovers.org