Mr. Palmer,

I have been asked to respond on behalf of Governor Gregoire to your inquiry on availability of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program in Grays Harbor County as a result of the December Severe Storm and Flood Disaster.

I am sorry for your loss caused by this month's flooding. The damages and disruption you have experienced are among those the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is designed to prevent.

The HMGP is one of the programs made available to the State of Washington following a disaster declaration by the President. The State Emergency Management Division implements the program at the state level. The program helps fund cost-effective projects designed to prevent future disaster damage and/or human casualties. Eligible to apply for HMGP are local governments, Indian Tribes, special districts such as fire districts and school districts, and certain private non-profit organizations that operate facilities providing like-government services. As you may be aware, individuals are not eligible to apply directly for HMGP grant funds, but your local government (Grays Harbor County) can apply on your behalf.

State Emergency Management Division staff provided information to Grays Harbor County staff on the availability of the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program for this disaster in a meeting on December 19, 2007. We will provide additional program and application information to the county via email on January 7, 2008, and encourage the county to develop a project that would be eligible for program funding.

If you are interested in a mitigation project for your home - such as elevating it above what is called the base flood elevation (the level of the projected 100-year flood) - I encourage you to contact Anne Sullivan, the county's Emergency and Risk Manager, at ASullivan@co.grays-harbor.wa.us, (360) 249-3911, and ask the county to pursue HMGP funding. I am currently unaware whether Grays Harbor County intends to apply for HMGP funds.

The state uses a two-step application process; the first deadline for what is called a Letter of Intent to apply for HMGP funds is February 29, 2008. Full project applications will be due June 30, 2008. There are other mitigation grant programs the county could pursue that are available annually; unfortunately, the county has missed the initial application deadline for the fiscal year 2008 programs.

The HMGP, and other mitigation grant programs, are made available on a cost-shared basis. Federal funds cover 75 percent of the cost of a project, with the applicant providing the remaining 25 percent of the cost. For the HMGP, the state typically provides half of the non-federal share, which would leave the applicant (e.g., Grays Harbor County) to provide the remaining share. If an applicant does not have funds to cover its portion of the cost-share, it can ask the beneficiary of the project - the property owner - to contribute to the cost-share.

An application does not guarantee receipt of grant funds. Please be aware that the HMGP application process is competitive, with the state typically receiving applications requesting up to 10 times available funds.

Given that you have experienced flood damage twice in recent years, I encourage you to apply for flood insurance if you do not already have coverage; standard homeowner's insurance policies do not cover loss caused by flooding. If you do not have flood insurance, I urge you to apply as soon as possible, as there is a 30-day waiting period between the date of application and effective date of coverage.

Again, I am sorry for the damage you experienced and the disruption the flooding has caused. If you have additional questions about mitigation grant programs or the application process, please feel free to contact me.

Mark

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Mark Stewart
State Hazard Mitigation Programs Manager
State Hazard Mitigation Officer
WA Military Department Emergency Management Division
Camp Murray - (253) 512-7072 (voice mail)
Joint Field Office - (360) 486-5742
Blackberry - (253) 988-0631
FAX - (253) 512-7205


This page created and maintained by Dave Palmer

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