Aid for damaged properties following a storm back in March of 2016 is being processed to help out victims of flood damage around Toledo Bend and the Evans area.
MPTX Associates, based in Jasper, Texas, and the Vernon Parish Police Jury submitted a federal grant requesting funds from FEMA to assist property owners.
Currently, the project is on track for approval and funding.
MPTX Associates is a professional contracting firm specializing in hazard mitigation, emergency management, floodplain administration, and regional planning services. Their focus is guiding and assisting local and regional agencies to benefit from federal programs and achieve goals of long term resiliency and community development.
"Any federal grant operates on a reimbursement process, which cycles through the police jury," MTEX Principal Greg Wobbe said. "The police jury has shown that ability to play that administrative role in the project.
“Basically, the Parish pays it up front, and FEMA reimburses them for the cost. It's an important detail on how the grant works.”
Thirty properties west of Highway 111 and near the Sabine River were targeted with the grant, and FEMA received around 20 responses from property owners. The $2.1 million grant would buy the properties so FEMA would not have to keep repairing high risk homes.
"We collected the information from the property owners, and we gave them as long as we could to get information back to us," Wobbe said. "A majority of folks have given the information that FEMA requested. There were some that have not responded and we have to go forward with the application with how it is currently framed.
"The concept is that it will save money in the long run and save people's time and trouble and everything that comes along with a flood event."
If other property owners want to come forward down the line, they are still eligible for future possible grants.
"If there are future phases of this project, we would be starting over with a new application," Wobbe said. "This particular one is in tact and is being resubmitted to FEMA as a complete project. It includes the ones who responded and those who didn't. However, those who didn't, FEMA will have less information. We are hoping there will still be a favorable outcome for all of this."
Although the properties are being bought by the federal government, Vernon Parish will own the properties.
"I am very relieved that we are at this stage. I give a lot of credit to the folks that have been participating in this," Wobbe said. "FEMA asks for a certain amount of information and then ask for more. Overall, the community has been very responsive. I'd also like to compliment the police jury and Parish Administration. They have been excellent throughout."