FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance Program

The FEMA Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) Program is the federal program currently in place for the mitigation of severe repetitive loss (SRL) and repetitive loss (RL) properties. The intent of the FMA grant program is to provide funding for mitigation measures to reduce or eliminate the long term risk of severe repetitive flood damage to private homes insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).


 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 5/17 - project discontinued
2015 FMA Awarded to elevat​​e eight (5) homes as of 5/17- project discontinuted
2016 FMA Applied to elevate nine (9) homes as of 5/17 not awarded, project discontinued

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.  

We experienced difficulties in virtually every area, from the inability to attract competitive bids to FEMA’s inability to adjust and provide additional funding necessary to complete a project, even when it could be shown that the originally budgeted amounts were insufficient.

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. We will focus on alternative programs that may be able to assist more homeowners in a shorter timeframe than has been possible under the Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant program.

For further information, please see our Frequently Asked Questions or contact, Kim Tempesco, Emergency Planner/Mitigation Specialist in the Office of Emergency Management at 757-385-8585 or at ktempesc@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).​