Flooding in the forecast has Jewell Woods neighborhood nervous
SOUTH BEND, Ind.—August 15, 2016 is a day neighbors living in Jewell Woods will never forget. The historic flood waters destroyed and damaged at least 60 homes in the neighborhood.
“It doesn’t matter if we get half an inch of rain, you just never know how it’s going to affect this neighborhood or what’s going to happen,” said floodwater victim Teddy Stanley.
To help resolve the on-going problem once and for all, St. Joseph Public Works Department submitted a grant application for the FEMA Voluntary Floodplan Home Buyout Program, giving homeowners the option to sell their home to the government so they can demolish them and allow mother nature to do as she pleases without further damage.
“The county is helping assist with the applications submitted to FEMA. We coordinated with about 15 area residents to collect any damages that they had,” said Jessica Clark, St. Joseph County Engineer.
You can only apply for the grant once a year and it takes months before you get an answer.
All homes are divided into levels one, two, or three, depending on who is at the greatest flood risk.
That means those in tier two or three will have to wait two to four years minimum to simply get an answer.
“They don’t know. They’re just kind of going to leave everything the way it is until they find out in March, April, May. And that’s only going to be 14-15 homes. The rest of us are on a waiting list until the following year,” said Stanley.
With possible flooding in the forecast this weekend, residents want the county to stop relying on future grants and get to work on improved drainage and infrastructure improvements.
“It’s not fair at all. We just sit here and wait for answers. We don’t know what’s going to happen to our homes. We have a whole house next to us that’s just sitting here vacant. They said that they did the best that they could do. They said they don’t have the funds to do anything,” said Stanley.
St. Joseph Public Works said they are unsure just how many others have applied for the grant.
This is a statewide grant so there are other statewide issues that are eligible.