Homeowners Trapped by Repeated Flooding Under Troubled Flood Insurance Program

Today it’s thousands of properties, but climate change and rising sea levels threaten to flood millions of properties in the coming decades CHICAGO (July 25, 2017)

– The nation’s flood insurance program has repeatedly rebuilt some of the most flood-prone properties in the country, unintentionally setting a trap for owners of modest homes who would prefer to move out of harm’s way, according to a new national report from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). For every $100 the nation spends to rebuild homes with national flood insurance funds, FEMA spends just $1.72 to better protect people by moving them to safer, less food-prone land NRDC’s “Seeking Higher Ground,” calls on Congress to adopt a series of climate smart reforms, including changing the mindset of “Flood, rebuild, repeat,” to Buying out homeowners who No longer want to rebuild on A vulnerable property.

“Flood insurance traps homeowners in a situation no one wants to be in: forced to rebuild in a location that will inevitably flood again. It’s time to start helping people move to higher ground, rather than make them wait for the next flood,” said Rob Moore, lead report author and senior policy analyst with NRDC’s Water Program.

Congress is required to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Every five years, with the next deadline at the end of September.

The program is nearly $25 billion in debt. NRDC’s analysis found costs will skyrocket as sea level rises due to climate change, repeatedly flooding millions of properties located along the coasts and inland waterways. The way the NFIP currently operates, it will pay hundreds of billions to rebuild these properties multiple times, even if the homeowner would prefer to move to higher ground.

Olga McKissic of Louisville, Kentucky lives in a home that has flooded four times between 1997 and 2015 with as much as 18 to 20 inches of water. [See Olga in this NRDC video https://youtu.be/-FeCkHZBd-M%5D

“We purchased our home in 1986, thinking it would be a lovely, tranquil place, but it’s a nightmare to live here in anticipation that it’s going to flood again. Flooding put our life on pause. I don’t want other people to go through what we’ve gone through,” said McKissic, who has been waiting for years for FEMA to authorize funding to buy her home before it floods again. Among the report’s key findings:

More than 30,000 “severe repetitive loss properties” have been insured through NFIP…

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