FEMA awards $5.9 mil­lion to city to pay vic­tims with de­mol­ished homes

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Bil­lie Stan­ton Anleu

Colorado Springs land­slide vic­tims fi­nally re­ceived good news Wed­nes­day: The Fed­eral Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency has awarded $5.9 mil­lion to the city to ac­quire houses de­mol­ished or se­verely dam­aged by land­slides caused by record rains in 2015.

The Lower Sky­way and Broad­moor Bluffs ar­eas were par­tic­u­larly hard-hit, and most of the 27 home­own­ers who qual­ify for as­sis­tance live in those neigh­bor­hoods.

Den­nis Cripps, whose house on Broad­moor Bluffs was ren­dered un­in­hab­it­able, said he was de­lighted by the news.

“I’m feel­ing great about it. The dis­ap­point­ment part of it is, that ($5.9 mil­lion) is what it was two years ago,” Cripps said. “It just seems like it’s taken for­ever. But it feels like it’s head­way. I also feel good that even though there’s not enough money for ev­ery­body now, they’re still go­ing af­ter more grants. And that tells me they’re go­ing to try to sat­isfy ev­ery­body on the list.”

Gor­don Bren­ner, the city’s re­cov­ery co­or­di­na­tor, ad­vised the land­slide vic­tims by email that the city staff will seek City Coun­cil per­mis­sion on Aug. 21 to spend the $5.9 mil­lion.

“Please re­mem­ber: $5.9 mil­lion will not be enough to ac­quire all the prop­er­ties on the list,” Bren­ner wrote. “We have al­ready sub­mit­ted a no­tice of in­tent to file for an­other round of grant fund­ing, and will con­tinue to seek ad­di­tional fund­ing un­til all op­tions are ex­hausted.”

The 27 home­own­ers are on a pri­or­ity list that has not been re­leased to them or the pub­lic, but own­ers of two con­demned houses in Lower Sky­way and the hard­est-hit homes in Broad­moor Bluffs have been ad­vised that they’re in the top-tier of that list.

No home­owner will get full re­im­burse­ment, how­ever.

From the start, the city has ad­vised that the own­ers will re­ceive a max­i­mum of 75 per­cent of the to­tal project cost – in­clud­ing ex­penses for ap­praisals, de­mo­li­tion, ti­tle searches and the like.

The city is ap­ply­ing “inkind ser­vices” and staff time to­ward the re­quired 25 per­cent grant match.

The homes that were hard­est-hit sus­tained dam­age to­tal­ing at least $6.4 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the El Paso County As­ses­sor’s Of­fice.

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