Home Elevation Grant Program – 2015: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

 1. I decided to demolish my home and rebuild it, rather than elevate it. Can I use FMA funds for this purpose instead?

Answer: No, the FMA funds may only be used for eligible home elevation costs.

2. What is the deadline for opting out of the project?

Answer: Executing the September 28, 2016 letter with the Opt Out option signifies your desire to be removed from the project. Parties not interested in participating should provide the executed letter to the City no later than October 31, 2016.

3. Will the Alternate be moved to the Candidate list for this 2015 Home Elevation Project? If so, when?

Answer: 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).

4. With whom will I enter into contracts?

Answer: 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.

5. Will I be able to pick my elevation contractor?

Answer: If selected for funding, the City of Houston will complete a process to Identify qualified elevation contractors. Participating homeowners will able to choose a contractor from this list.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. What is the order in which each home begins the elevation process?

Answer: The home order will be based on an initial request by owners. The higher Benefit/Cost score for each home will be used to break a “tie”.

9. When will my house be elevated?

Answer: 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. Elevation of any home is not expected before the end of the 2015.

10. Approximately how long will each project take to complete? Answer: The answer is: it depends. The more complicated a house footprint/foundation and the amount of lift required, the longer it could take.

11. Is there any information available on homes that have been “lifted” in other locations?

Answer: 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.

12. Will homeowners qualify if they have already begun repairs to their homes?

Answer: 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.

13. Will there be any out-of-pocket costs to the homeowner?

Answer: Listed below you will find a list of eligible and ineligible costs

Eligible 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

Ineligible Costs

  • 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.)

 14. How will the City keep in touch with me during the process?

 Answer: A separate email address and phone number are established for communicating with City staff during the course of the project:


CONTACT INFORMATION:

Email: pwefmagrant@houstontx.gov

2015-FMA Home Elevation Grant number: 832-395-3065

Check the 2015 FMA Grant webpage at houstonrecovers.org

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