FEMA funds will help fix Riverside home

Local homeowner turns to federal help for flood prone home

ST. JOHN'S COUNTY, Fla. - Walking into Iris Eisenberg's Riverside home there is evidence of flood damage everywhere. The stucco is soft where the water marks are throughout her home because she said, her home has flooded repeatedly.

Eisenberg said being one property away from the St. Johns River, on top of having drainage issues, means she gets hit with flood waters, a lot.

"I was in Kuwait last year when my house flooded. I'm a flight surgeon. My neighbors rolled up the rugs shop vac'd, pumped out the house and got things back," said Eisenberg. "I was 7,000 miles away, kind of stressful."

Eisenberg said she's had to file flood insurance claims time and again. Now she's resorting to a FEMA program to help solve the problem. The Jacksonville City Council approved FEMA money for her during Tuesday night's meeting. The project will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and means that FEMA will physically raise Eisenberg's home eight-feet off the ground.

"FEMA has a program and the only thing the program will do is lift the house. It won't elevate the house, won't move the house, it will only lift the house. The problem is that my house is a protected structure in Riverside. So it can't be moved down. In its current state it has a market value of zero. It has mold in the walls," said Eisenberg.

FEMA will pay likely 90-percent of the cost and Eisenberg will pick up the rest of the tab. Eisenberg said she wishes there was another option like flood barriers around her home, something she thinks would be a lot cheaper for taxpayers, but she says FEMA won't allow it.

"I agree with the fiscal conservatives that this is crazy. If I didn't have that emotion. I would've taken care of this 3, 4, 5 years ago, but I was trying to find right alternatives," said Eisenberg.

The city will be responsible for administering the funds to fix Eisenberg's home. Officials said the money won't be pulled from local tax payer dollars. Instead, federal funding for these types of projects come from money property owners pay to the National Flood Insurance Program.

No word yet on when construction on the home will begin.

Copyright 2012 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.