FEMA Voluntary Flood Buyouts (Hazard Mitigation Grant Program)
Help for individuals after a disaster, Owning or buying a home
Last updated on 08/23/2021 at 4:16 pm
Your community has experienced a destructive flood that has caused considerable damage to property. You may have already applied for FEMA benefits, but have also heard of a “buy-out.” This FAQ will briefly explain the buy-out process under FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program.
What is the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program?
The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) is a federal post‐disaster assistance program administered by the West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM). This program is sometimes referred to as a “FEMA Buy-out.”
How does the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program work?
Properties that meet certain requirements may be purchased by the City or County at their (generally pre-flood) fair market value. (Note: There is an appeals process if the property owner does not agree with the local jurisdiction’s appraisal.)
Is this program right for you?
The HMGP will enable the property owner to have a:
Greater peace of mind because it reduces or eliminates most future flood risk;
Fair compensation based on pre-flood market value;
Eliminate the need to file bankruptcy; or
No adverse affect on credit.
Am I an eligible applicant?
All West Virginia local governments, counties, and municipalities, are eligible to apply. Additionally, local governments may apply on behalf of a private entity. The local government has discretion over which homes are chosen.
What types of projects can be funded?
The HMGP can be used to fund projects to protect either public or private property. Examples of projects include:
Acquisition and demolition of structures in hazard‐prone areas;
Elevation or relocation of structures in hazard‐prone areas;
Retrofitting, such as flood proofing, to protect structures from future damage;
Structural hazard control, such as debris basins or floodwalls.
How long does this process take?
The HMGP is a long and uncertain process. There are five phases of a flood buyout project and each phase could take anywhere from three (3) months to eighteen (18) months to complete.
What should I do if I am interested in participating in a buy out?