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Jacksonville awarded grant for demolition of flood-prone properties

FEMA: 17 flood-prone residential structures were impacted by Hurricane Irma

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville has been awarded a grant of more than $3.4 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to fund the acquisition and demolition of 17 flood-prone residential structures impacted by Hurricane Irma, officials said.

The 17 addresses are all in the South Shores neighborhood, which was badly flooded by Irma in 2017. The city proposed buying out more than 70 properties to make a wetlands area. So it appears 17 homeowners have opted for the buyout thus far.

FEMA has awarded the city a $3,464,851 grant. Officials said funding for the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program project is authorized under Section 404 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.

"HMGP dollars help strengthen communities by improving buildings, facilities and infrastructure that people use every day," a news release from FEMA said. "A 2018 report from the National Institute of Building Sciences found that one dollar spent on hazard mitigation will save more than six dollars of recovery and rebuilding costs."

Officials said Florida has a FEMA-approved Enhanced Mitigation Plan, which makes the state eligible for HMGP funding not to exceed 20 percent of the estimated total amount of money spent by FEMA on disaster grants following Hurricane Irma.

From this amount, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program reimburses the state of Florida up to 75 percent of eligible costs for mitigation projects, FEMA officials said. The remaining amount comes from other sources, including state and local assets, and a combination of cash and in-kind sources.