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Grants available to retrofit older homes against earthquakes

Grants are now available to retrofit older homes in California
Posted at 5:30 AM, Oct 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-25 05:06:56-04

Applications for the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Retrofit grant opened this week. The grant is designed to help homeowners upgrade and properly anchor their homes to the foundation.

The deadline to apply is November 29.

“The earthquake brace and bolt is coming in and taking care of the risk of sliding or toppling off the foundation in a damaging earthquake," said California Earthquake Authority Chief Mitigation Officer Janiele Maffei.

More than 15,000 grants will be available. Applicants will be chosen via random selection, but there are qualifications. Those include proof that they are the homeowner living in the home, live within a qualifying zip code, the house needs to have been built prior to 1980, and have a crawlspace or a raised foundation.

On the Central Coast, many of the eligible zip codes are in Santa Barbara County.

“What happens is everybody applies for the base grant of up to $3,000. And then if you believe that your household is income-qualifying, you apply for the second supplementary grant. And if you’re accepted to that, you’ll actually get two checks at the end of the process,” added Maffei.

According to the California Earthquake Authority, retrofitting will cost most households around $5,000, so the grant would cover more than half of it.

Applicants whose combined income is less than $72,080 per year, can apply for the supplemental grant and the amount given will depend on the average cost of retrofitting in the area.

“If you qualify for the grant and you're given the go-ahead, then you go and you can use the contractor directory on our site and you select a contractor,” said Maffei. There is a permit process and a FEMA acceptance program.

Representatives for the California Earthquake Authority noted they are planning to expand the eligibility in the future.