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Homeowners in Santa Barbara, Montecito can apply for grant to retrofit home against earthquake damage

Posted at 6:22 AM, Feb 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-24 10:03:41-05

A grant to help California homeowners retrofit their homes to protect against earthquakes is available once again.

The California Residential Mitigation program, which was established in 2011, provides funds to help Californians strengthen their homes against damage.

The issue is that many older homes aren't properly braced and bolted to the foundation, leaving them susceptible to damage that makes the home uninhabitable.

"If you have an older home, particularly one with a craw space on the first floor, you may need to put some elements into that craw space to stiffen up that house," CEA Chief Mitigation Officer Janiele Maffei said. "In an earthquake, what will happen is in an older home built and designed before codes were adopted throughout the state, an earthquake can actually shake and topple your home off the foundation and if it topples like this. It's the type of damage where your family may be out for months, even years."

A typical retrofit costs between $3,000 to $7,000.

The Earthquake Brace and Bolt program provides $3,000 to eligible homeowners for improvements to protect against the rock and roll of mother nature.

San Luis Obispo County residents are not on the list of eligible homeowners.

We asked the state's Office of Emergency Services services why homes in SLO County, which has seen a number of earthquakes over the years, are not eligible for the grant. A spokesman for the office said he would look into it.

In Santa Barbara County, residents of Montecito and Santa Barbara qualify for the grant.

Homes in those areas must have light, wood frames and concrete foundations, reinforced masonry, and cripple walls or stem walls in order to receive funds.

The house must successfully pass a final inspection by a local building inspector, confirming the retrofit was done properly, in order to receive the funds.