With superstorm Sandy came catastrophe's special lexicon -- ICC, NFIP, HMGP, HUD, CDBG.
Owners of homes that sustained "substantial damage" -- that is, damage amounting to 50 percent or more of the structure's pre-storm market value -- have three basic options: elevate, demolish or take a government-subsidized buyout.
Here's a glossary for those navigating the alphabet soup of post-Sandy government programs.
Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC). Policyholders in high-risk areas known as special flood hazard areas can get grants of up to $30,000 from the National Flood Insurance Program to help pay for bringing homes or businesses into compliance with the community's floodplain ordinance.
You may file an ICC claim in two instances:
1. Your community determines your home or business sustained "substantial damage"
2. Your community has a "repetitive loss provision" in its floodplain management ordinance and determines your home or business was damaged by a flood two times in the past 10 years. The cost to repair the damage from the flooding, on average, must have equaled or exceeded 25 percent of its market value at the time of each flood, and there must have been flood insurance claim payments for each of the two flood losses.
For more information: Call your insurance company or agent or the National Flood Insurance Program toll-free at 800-427-4661. TDD# 800-427-5593.
Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). Grants are available under this program, administered by the Office of Emergency Management within the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services. It provides Federal Emergency Management Agency grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration. Grants can be used for elevations, property acquisitions or buyouts, or other priorities set by the state.
FEMA can fund up to 75 percent of the eligible costs of each project. The state or municipality provides a 25 percent match, which can be a combination of cash and in-kind sources. Funding from other federal sources cannot be used for the 25 percent share, with one exception: Funding provided to states under HUD's Community Development Block Grant program can be used to meet the nonfederal share requirement.
The NYS Office of Emergency Management requests "letters of intent" from local municipalities on behalf of property owners. This has not yet occurred. Homeowners cannot make applications directly to the state or to FEMA.
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery Assistance. Under FEMA regulations, Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can be made available to property owners whose homes or businesses were substantially damaged. Grants can help pay for elevating homes and businesses or for government buyouts.
Nassau, Suffolk and Rockland counties are set to share 80 percent of $1.71 billion in these funds. New York State on March 12 filed its action plan with HUD, outlining anticipated use of the money for unmet needs. The federal agency has up to 45 days to sign off on the action plan.
The block grants will go to the state as a "grantee." It, in turn, will funnel the money to "subgrantees," local governments and nonprofits that have identified unmet needs in specific categories, such as housing, public infrastructure and flood control. Details on specific projects and their prioritization of projects are not yet known.
Long Islanders can register for the state's proposed housing and business assistance programs at www.nysandyhelp.ny.gov, or call the state's Sandy helpline at 855-NYS-SANDY for further information.