Locals could get grants for safe rooms

Published 12:05am Friday, August 2, 2013

Covington County has been awarded more than $125,000 as part of an eight-county $900,000 hazard mitigation grant announced Wednesday by Gov. Robert Bentley.

In his announcement, Bentley said residents in eight counties, including Covington, will have an opportunity to make their homes safer from severe weather as a result of the federal disaster declaration for Hurricane Isaac in 2012; however, county emergency management agency director Susan Harris said local governments will get first opportunity at the grant funds.

“Alabama is no stranger to the effects of a natural disaster,” Bentley said. “We’ve learned that preparedness is the key to surviving the effects of a storm. These funds will allow our residents to be better prepared for the next time a devastating storm hits Alabama.”

Other counties receiving funding include Baldwin, Dallas, Geneva, Mobile, Monroe, Perry and Pickens.

For the two coastal counties, Bentley’s priorities are residential wind retrofit. This initiative focuses on but is not limited to securing the roof system, water intrusion resistance, installing impact-resistant windows, modifying attic ventilation openings and installing a new roof covering. Eligible primary homeowners will qualify for a one-time $5,000 reimbursable hazard mitigation grant.

For the six additional counties, which includes Covington, the governor’s priorities are individual and community safe rooms. Harris said Thursday that the grant requires a 25 percent match, and if local governments do not participate in the grant process, that money could be made available to area residents.

“The state has changed the way the money is allotted, so I first have to get the Hazard Mitigation Committee together and look at the entire county and the committee has to prioritize the mitigation projects for the county,” Harris said. “Then we will start applying for the HMPG grant. “

The committee, along with the mayors of each area municipality, will meet Aug. 13 to set priorities for the entire county


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