COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— The City of Colorado Springs has been allocated additional grant funding totaling $3.9 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to acquire additional qualifying properties in southwest Colorado Springs impacted by landslide activity that began in 2015.
“The City is pleased to have successfully secured this additional grant funding to provide financial relief to those residents who had significant damage to their homes from landslide activity. City staff have relentlessly pursued all available grant funding opportunities, and we are pleased to have secured relief for additional homeowners,” said Bret Waters, Deputy Chief of Staff.
The City was awarded $5.4 million in grant funding from FEMA through the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management in August 2017 that funded acquisition of the top ten most damaged homes in the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Approved federal funding now totals $10,136,732 under two Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) authorizations. With the additional funding, the City will continue the property acquisition process making its way down the prioritized list of impacted homes. In turn, and by FEMA rules, the land will be converted to open space to mitigate future damage.
Several steps must take place prior to acquisition of any homes and the City of Colorado Springs will provide additional information and timeline of activities to applicants as the process moves forward.
No City of Colorado Springs General Fund money is used in the acquisition program. FEMA will provide a maximum reimbursement of up to 75 percent of the total eligible project cost. The project cost includes: the appraised value of the property on May 1, 2015 (pre-disaster value), and items such as title search and appraisal fees, hazardous material testing (all properties) and removal (if present), and costs of demolition. The property owner is responsible for the remaining 25 percent of the project cost. The City will apply in-kind services and staff time towards the required 25 percent grant match, which will lessen the cost to the property owners.
The ten homes eligible for acquisition from the original $5.4 million in grant funding are in different phases of the acquisition and demolition processes.
Heavy rains that plagued Colorado Springs during spring and summer 2015 saturated slopes and caused significant damage to public infrastructure and prompted FEMA to issue a Major Disaster Declaration on July 16, 2015 (“Colorado Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides (DR-4229)”). The heavy rains also triggered several landslides in isolated areas on the city’s west side.
The City of Colorado Springs applied in February 2016 for a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, a statewide competitive grant that could provide assistance to eligible property owners who have been impacted by recent landslides that are occurring as a result of the unprecedented rain events in 2015. City officials have been working with property owners, the State of Colorado and FEMA throughout the application process.
The HMGP program is a statewide program authorized under the Major Disaster Declaration for “Colorado Severe Storms, Tornadoes, Flooding, Landslides, and Mudslides (DR-4229)” declared on July 16, 2015. This statewide competitive grant program is designed to provide funds for projects that reduce the risk to individuals and property from natural disasters. It does not serve to provide recovery assistance, but instead to mitigate future damage. Funds are provided to the City as reimbursement for eligible documented costs.