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FEMA meeting gets heated
(Page 3 of 3)
Courtesy FEMA

Though many said they were aware of the funding and the need to mitigate, they appeared surprised when they were told about the potential consequences of not doing so if they are in a high-risk area. Due to flood insurance reform passed by Congress last year, the owner of a house that is four feet below base flood elevation will pay $9,500 a year in flood insurance.

And audience members clearly were not happy about the timeline for receiving mitigation aid. “It’s a lot of moving pieces,” said Phillip Parr, FEMA’s deputy federal coordinating officer. “It takes a least a year after the event.”

Parr tried to assuage the angry crowd by saying that FEMA would try to expedite the process. But one woman pointed out that many people cannot afford to rebuild their houses, and make the necessary structural changes, without the mitigation aid. If it takes longer than 18 months to get the money, she said, they will lose rental-assistance funding, and what living options will they have then?

After the forum, attendees expressed their frustration with its ineffectiveness. “A lot of it was, ‘We’ll take your name and we’ll call you back,’” said one Canals resident. “The whole process is very frustrating, very stressful.”

City Council members Fran Adelson and Eileen Goggin agreed. “We were extremely disappointed in the program they presented,” said Adelson. “We feel that FEMA did not do a great job of answering the questions.”

Adelson explained that the city had asked FEMA to take part because residents were still confused and had many unanswered questions. But she and Goggin both said that the panel was unprepared and, overall, the meeting was unproductive.

“Some people walked away with more questions and more confused than when they walked in,” said Adelson. “It was standing room only, a packed crowd. This is affecting more than half of the city.”

She said that the city would call on FEMA to make another presentation, this time with two more participants: a second National Flood Insurance Program representative, and a mitigation expert.

“People are frustrated, people are angry, people are frightened,” Adelson said. “And they need their questions answered.”


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A lot of this is not even a Sandy or FEMA issue. Home ownership is expensive. Stuff Happens. Expensive Stuff Happens. My neighbors who had access to emergency cash who had 100K in damage, started projects immediately, fronted money and piece by piece submitted to insurance company for payment. Got paid and are just about done. They also did not pay inflated prices for work as they did not have the contractors in any way shape and form involved in the insurance claims.

However, the two neighbors who did this actually, owned their homes with no mortgage. Involving bank slowed whole process, Trying to get paid first before work slows process, Trying to get contractors involved in all this slows process. Finally, banks want proof of licensed contractors and permits before they release funds which slows process.

Folks who had Flood Insurance, with no mortgage and access to "rainy day" funds are wrapping up work.

Also in regards to FEMA not paying enough. Actually FEMA has an automated program that calclulates the costs, problem is it is historical data. After large natural disasters, building supplies, contractors quickly start raising prices.

I had to buy a ton of sheet rock after Sandy. One week after Sandy, I placed a large order for Sheetrock, Spackle, Tape, Mold Removal, Nails, Studs, Pipes etc. from several wholesalers in Queens with a delayed delivery. I paid up front. I got my delivery as soon as I could get the garage cleared.

Two months later Sheetrock prices went way up. Shortages, hard to get. Contractors charging more as they had to pay more. Anyhow, FEMA calculations did not account for the price rise soon to come. System cant guess at what prices will go up to only can show what prices currently are.

One without access to an emergency fund to order the stuff ASAP, or book contractors ASAP will have to pay more, the end result is FEMA/NFIP funds then wont be enough.

Also we had people who bought in the Real Estate Bubble from Spring 2003 to Spring 2008 whose mortgage sucks up their entire income who cant afford to keep an empty house, pay rent on a second place and pay to fix it up. Some folks in Long Beach are also underwater on their houses. Not salt water, but mortgage wise.

Phase two of this will be lots of folks walking away from homes in Long Beach, there are almost 300 homes in Long Beach if various stages of pre-foreclosure, foreclosure and short sales.

Phase three will be higher flood rates and folks having trouble selling as in quick fixes hardly any permits were filed and COs will be hard to get.

Long Beach wont have a normal housing market again till 2016 and if we have no floods again in Fall of 2014 and Fall of 2015

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