Louisiana home elevation program to require surety bonds

Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds can be used by Louisiana homeowners to elevate their houses, which could prevent flooding losses such as this one that resulted from Hurricane Katrina.

Since Hurricane Katrina tore through the Gulf Coast in 2005, homeowners in Louisiana have been fighting to make sure their homes are safe from future natural disasters. Through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) provides grants to states that then allocate funding to eligible applicants. Individuals then use the funding to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.

According to the Louisiana Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness,

The purpose of the program is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.

A number of Louisiana homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding have been using the funding to elevate their houses. Unfortunately, a number of recent reports tell of contractors who have disappeared after receiving payment, leaving behind shoddy construction or failing to complete jobs altogether.

To combat the continuing problem, on Friday Aug. 19 Gov. Bobby Jindal issued an executive order that outlined new consumer protection standards for the $750 million home elevation program. Among the changes to be made include a surety bond that contractors would have to post before they begin work on projects funded by the program.

The surety bond regulations, which would include a requirement for the bond’s penal sum, have not yet to be established.

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