Charleston is beginning to recover from the recent impact of Hurricane Matthew, for the most part. But there are still some people trying to recover from the historic floods from last October, and now there's a set back in those plans after a grant from FEMA was denied for the area. It's the FEMA Flooding Mitigation Assistance grant and the city of Charleston requested $10 million, which would be used to purchase land and those homes that have a history of severe flooding.
In the past three months, the Hale family's home in Shadowmoss Plantation has flooded three times. They gave up on trying to make repairs and haven't lived in the house since August 31, 2015.
David Hale says, "Anytime it floods it basically turns your house upside down. We didn't want that, so we basically paid off our house with the insurance money and found a place to live where at least we know we are coming home to the same place every day and my kids have some stability."
He says the house has flooded nine times total since it was built, but that was not disclosed to his family when they bought the house. He did have flood insurance, but never imagined he would get so much use out of it.
Hale says, "Being that I'm not from Charleston, I thought that was something that was basically everybody had to have because of hurricanes and stuff. Had I known prior to purchasing the house the history that it had, obviously I wouldn't have bought it."
They don't want to keep repairing it, or sell it to another family and put in them in the same situation.
Hale says, "I would not certainly do that to somebody else, that's beyond the pale".
So the city asked FEMA for a grant of more than $10 million through their Flooding Mitigation Assistance so that they purchase some of these homes, like the Hale's, that have a history of severe flooding.
Josh Martin, Senior Advisor to Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, says, "The structure and the lot would be purchased, and then they would be given those funds to be put toward relocation to another area of the city that is perhaps more resilient to flooding, and then that property that was purchased via the federal funds would be returned to open space, green space, in perpetuity."
But, that grant request was denied. David says it would save the government money to just buy the house.
He says, "The house was purchased in 1991 for $90,000, the federal government, as far as flood insurance, has already spend $350,000 repairing my house from floods and there's no end in sight for that."
The city is reapplying for the grant and asking some of the SC Congressmen to argue the case for this money in DC. They have also applied for another grant through FEMA that would bring about the same amount of money if approved. They are expecting to have an answer on both of these options by early next year.