FAIRFIELD, Conn. – After more than a year of waiting, Fairfield residents hoping to get funding from FEMA for cleanup and home repairs from Superstorm Sandy will be able to apply for up to $100,000 in grant money.
The Connecticut Interagency Hazard Mitigation Committee on Monday revised its initial decision to fund infrastructure projects rather than provide funding to homeowners.
“I am very grateful that the committee has revised its decision and recognizes how important it is for residents to benefit from this important funding,” Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau said.
Of the 70 applications from Fairfield sent in to be considered for FEMA grant money, 26 were sent to the state committee for approval.
“We’ve been talking with the folks at the state and have been telling them all along that residential grants were our priority,” Tetreau said. “The committee did not ask the first selectmen what their priorities were.”
When the majority of the money was approved for the infrastructure projects, Tetreau said he and other town leaders began to lobby the state and committee again to rethink their decision.
“The committee wasn’t wrong, they tried to pick projects that would do a lot of good but they didn’t think about what would happen to the residents,” Tetreau said.
Residents who applied for the grant funding had to fund the project before they would be able to get the 75 percent reimbursement from FEMA, using savings and college funds to pay for the raising of their homes.
“There is nothing easy for the people in the beach area,” Tetreau said, adding that just because they applied for the funding, it doesn’t mean that they’ll receive the funding.
The $16 million set aside for storm aid will now be used to fund:
- Elevation projects will be submitted to FEMA for consideration, with a $100,000 cap on the federal cost share per home
- Infrastructure projects will be submitted in priority order to FEMA for consideration with an initial total cap of $4 million federal cost share
- Acquisition projects will be submitted in priority order to FEMA for consideration with an initial total cap of $4.5 million federal cost share.
In addition, beginning this summer, Gov. Dannel Malloy's Shoreline Resiliency Fund will provide low interest loans to homeowners looking to elevate their homes.