ELK GROVE — The Federal Emergency Management Agency says it will put up $2.6 million to help dozens of Sacramento County homeowners lift their homes above flood levels.
It’s hard to believe that the Point Pleasant area near Interstate 5 and Lambert Road is flood prone. However, higher levees and residential development in Elk Grove just to the north has backed water up and the area experienced flooding as recently as the winter of 2017.
That’s why Sacramento County Water Resources applied for and got the FEMA grant to raise around 30 targeted homes to 18 inches above flood levels. That could mean as much as 6 feet for some homes.
Some homeowners endured the consequences of living in low-lying areas.
“Had to stay out of their homes for quite a few months while their homes dried and then they were inspected to make sure mold didn’t start to fester in their homes,” said Sacramento County Water Resources spokesman Matt Robinson.
Sacramento County has used FEMA money for other preventative measures.
Tuesday, county officials OK’d spending $1.2 million to buy out the Rio Linda Apostolic Church, which chronically floods. It will tear down the building and turn it into a wetland area.
The county has funded lifting homes in flood areas since the 1990s. At-risk homes are located all over the county.
The catch is that FEMA wants homeowners to kick in 25% of the cost of lifting homes, which could amount to more than $25,000.
“What the county wants to do is to raise our homes in this area and I don’t think that’s right,” said Walt Poppe.
Poppe is a lifelong resident of the Point Pleasant area. He says local governments have allowed development and levee districts to funnel water into their area, creating a flood risk where there was none a hundred years ago.
“To raise houses is just a quick fix for them. It’s an easy out for them,” he told FOX40.
Several other homeowners said they are reluctant to spend that kind of money, even if they had it.
Those who built raised houses following current flood guidelines say stairs, especially for the disabled and elderly, are a problem.
Poppe said the money applies only to living spaces.
“It won’t raise the outbuildings or the garage,” Poppe said. “They’ll raise the house and I’ve got animals and equipment and all that stuff. It doesn’t help any of that.”
Still, there were others who were at least inquiring about the program, especially after the last flood event.
“It’s up to the individual homeowners. The county has been working with homeowners in this area for years trying to get them on board with this,” Robinson said.
The initial request to FEMA was for $4 million to elevate 49 homes in the county. County officials say two other grants are being requested so that over 60 residents may be able to raise their homes.
How many homeowners will take up the offer remains to be seen.