Flooding Mitigation Assistance Grant Program

FEMA's Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Grant Program is an avenue for the elevation, acquisition or demolition and rebuilding of some structures, but due to the strict requirements of the program very few homes in Virginia Beach qualify for this type of assistance. For homes that do qualify, the grant process takes several years from application to implementation so it should not be viewed an optimal solution for repetitively flooding homes. Because the program is funded by the National Flood Insurance Program, the home must be currently insured by the NFIP, it must be either an SRL or RL property and be determined to be cost beneficial using the Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) tool FEMA provides. The BCA calculation is the requirement that most repetitively flooded structures in Virginia Beach do not meet which is why the City has developed the Parcel Level Mitigation Program. A Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) structure is one that meets one of two definitions: 1) Has had four or more claims filed with the National Flood Insurance Program totaling $5,000 or more each including building and contents or 2) Two or more flood insurance claims where the building claim only is greater than the value of the structure at the time of the second flood. A Repetitive Loss (RL) structure is one that has had two or more claims filed with the National Flood Insurance Program greater than $1000 each. Typically a property must either have experienced over $75,000 in total flood damages in a rolling 10 year period OR have a finished first floor elevation of at least 2 feet below base flood elevation to meet the minimum BCA requirement. Since 2010 the city has been awarded four FMA grants with two more expected to be awarded in late 2020. In July of 2020 the Parcel Level Mitigation Program was started to assist homeowners whose properties do not qualify for the FEMA programs. This program will incorporate a variety of funding sources and mitigation actions based on the property needs to include acquisition, elevation, smaller mitigation projects and other actions as determined and recommended. The table below is representative of what options might be available.

Parcel Level Flood Mitigation Program_2.png

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​To submit your property for consideration please use the link below.  Applications are accepted on a continual basis and will be evaluated quarterly for all available programs beginning October 1, 2020.  You must be the owner of record to apply.  This program is entirely voluntary.  The application is only the first phase and indicates interest only.  Submitting an application does not obligate the homeowner or the city to any action.  Properties identified for further review will be contacted for next steps.

For more information please contact the Office of Emergency Management's Mitigation Program floodmitigation@vbgov.com

 Current Projects

Grant Year Program Description Status
2010 SRL Pilot program to elevate seven (7) homes completed 9/15
2013 FMA Awarded to elevate eight (8) homes As of 9/16/20-  5 homes elevated
2015 FMA Awarded to elevat​​e eight (5) homes As of 9/16/20 - 3 homes elevated
2016 FMA Awarded to elevate nine (9) homes As of 9/16/20 - 7 of 9 homes elevated
Pending award to elevate 5 homes
​Pending award to acquire 3 homes

As of September 16, 2020 elevations continue under the pilot program with all but two homes in the 2016 having either been completed or in progress.  Two additional FMA grants are expected to be awarded to the city in late fall of 2020.

As of May 30, 2017 a decision was made by the City to discontinue all of the current projects relating to the Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant Programs.  We were forced to come to this decision after exhausting every avenue for completing the projects. The one project that has been completed was fraught with difficulties from the beginning, took almost six years to complete and cost homeowners significant sums of money out of their own pockets. Although construction was completed at the end of 2015, there are continuing issues still today, making this a less than ideal situation for both the homeowners and the City.  

In November of 2017 FEMA Region III issued a letter indicating the lack of prohibition of homeowners to directly contract for the elevation of their properties with the City administering the funds, a process that would hopefully yield better results for homeowners and the City.  OEM worked with legal and purchasing to ensure all elements of the grant requirements were being met and in May of 2018 were able to conduct a bid process for the purpose of developing a list of contractors and A&E firms from which the homeowners could select.  Pilot homes were selected to proceed through the process and once proven to be a viable option the remaining homes will follow.

In addition, the City is committed to finding alternatives to this program and is working diligently to develop a City funded replacement program aimed at assisting as many homeowners as possible that are subjected to the repetitive flooding of their homes. 

For further information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions or contact, Kim Tempesco, Senior Emergency Planner/ FMA Program Manager  in the Office of Emergency Management at 757-385-8585 or at floodmitigation@vbgov.com..


 National Flood Insurance Program

Most NFIP policies now include the Increased Cost of Compliance rider- contact your flood insurance agent to verify this rider is on your flood insurance policy.

​A building is eligible for an Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) claim payment, up to $30,000, if it is located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and the structure meets certain eligibility criteria, including a substantial damage determination by the City.

​Substantial damage is determined when the local building official certifies that a residential or commercial structure is damaged to the extent that the cost of restoring the building to before damaged conditions would equal or exceed 50 percent of the market value of the building prior to the flood.

​In order to qualify for the ICC, home and business owners must submit the following to VB Planning/Permits and Inspections office:

  1. A letter stating your home/business was damaged greater than 50% due to flooding in any flood event
  2. Insurance proof of loss(es) and/or contractors’ estimates of sustained damages
  3. Elevation certificate
The City will verify the structure meets the ICC requirements and prepare a letter for submittal to FEMA/NFIP. Please note, ICC claims only apply to flood‐damaged structures, and can only be used to pay for costs of meeting the floodplain requirements as soon as reasonably possible after the loss, not to exceed two years. Any construction to a structure in a SFHA must comply with the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code and the City’s floodplain ordinance found in Appendix C, Section 5.B. Mitigation construction options eligible for ICC compliance to help reduce future flood damage are:

  • Elevation ‐ Raise the structure to bring the lowest floor two foot above the base flood elevation (BFE).
  • Relocation – Move your house or business to higher ground, out of the flood hazard zone.
  • Demolition – Demolish your house or business and clear the site.
  • Floodproofing – Applicable to non‐residential buildings ‐ It involves making a building watertight through approved methods
The Homeowner’s Guide to Retrofitting- six ways to protect your home against flooding details all ICC el​igible activities . https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/480

For further information or any questions or concerns please feel free to contact Permits and Inspections at 385‐4211, option 4.​

 Benefit Cost Analysis

​FEMA’s Benefit Cost Analysis (BCA) program gathers information on the property, historical damages and claims, and other information to determine every dollar spent on a mitigation project will save at least as much in future damages.  While training on the program is extensive, here are some points to keep in mind:

  • The cost of the project must be less than the benefits achieved as measured by damages avoided over a specific time period (30 years for elevation, 100 years for acquisition and demolition). 
  • A positive BCA for the project is a FEMA requirement (where the value of the damages avoided is greater than the cost of the mitigation). o We are mandated to use a specific FEMA Benefit‐Cost calculating module to determine the benefit ratios or, in the case of SRL, an alternative value pre‐established as a benefit by FEMA. o Benefits divided by Cost must be equal to or greater than 1.0.
  • The lower the house is below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE), the better the benefits (assuming the costs are consistent and reasonable). 
  • Homes that get hit by waves (V‐Zone) generally produce higher benefits than those in non‐wave areas (A‐Zone).​