The first phase of two $30 million grants from the Federal Emergency Management Association for flood-prone residences in Brazoria County is slated to begin work on 70 homes, Brazoria County Floodplain Administrator Joe Ripple said.

The $8.9 million for the homes is the first of three phases and aims to elevate or reconstruct the homes, which are spread throughout the county, Ripple said.

Both of the $30 million grants are 75-25 grants, meaning the grant money will go toward 75 percent of the renovation or elevation costs while homeowners cover the remaining 25 percent, Ripple said in October.

“Brazoria County adopted elevation standards higher than the base flood elevation to provide additional protection to the community,” according to a news release from FEMA. “The elevation is also expected to result in lower insurance premiums for owners.

“The county will work with each homeowner to select a qualified, experienced contractor who will complete the work in compliance with applicable local codes, standards and National Flood Insurance Program requirements,” the news release states.

Homes that will receive assistance have already been selected and will be bundled and worked on during separate phases, Ripple said.

The county will not receive all of the money at once. With each phase, the county will submit which structures will be included in the next phase and once they have done that, they will receive the money to move forward with those structures, County Judge Matt Sebesta said in October.

“We are hoping to be able to do 400 homes officially,” Ripple said. “A structural engineer will evaluate if the structure is sound. He will say we can go ahead and move forward with elevation. If they can’t, they will fall into reconstruction phase. ... We have three years to complete this, so it will be ongoing.”

Ripple has been working closely with Grantworks and the Texas Division of Emergency Management to make this happen, The Facts previously reported. He said because of the relationships that have been made, they are able to keep moving forward.

“We’re getting there,” Ripple said. “We’re getting some relief for those folks.”

Courtney Blackann is a reporter for The Facts. Contact her at 979-237-0152.

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