Carol Friedland, Kleinpeter, Shelly
After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, the State of Louisiana received federal Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) assistance, administered by the Louisiana Office of Community Development (OCD) as the Road Home Program. The goal of this funding was to provide homeowners with the required matching funds for elevating damaged homes under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP). This research evaluates the cost effectiveness of the Road Home Program elevation mitigation assistance for a case study of homes in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, using benefit cost analysis (BCA) based on average annual loss (AAL) prediction.
Research findings indicate that elevating existing homes by either 3 feet above the ground or to the base flood elevation (BFE; 100–year flood elevation), whichever is higher, reduces the median AAL by 98 percent and proves the effectiveness of the program for elevating homes that have been in service for over 12 years with average BCR of 1.5 and 1.7 over a 30–year mortgage and a 70–year building lifetime, respectively. The results highlight the importance of conducting individual building level flood risk assessment to identify which homes are at greater risk. This ensures that the benefits of any elevation measures outweigh the costs for all the homes (Figure 2). Additionally, the research results highlight the importance of considering the trade-offs between retrofitting existing homes and building new homes above expected flood levels. The cost of elevating a home during construction is far less than elevating it after a disaster, making it a more cost-effective approach.
Based on these findings, the policy implication of the cost effectiveness research suggests tying development funds to above-code requirements, providing pre-construction grants to cover the additional cost of elevating homes during construction, and encouraging and incentivizing new construction to meet elevation requirements. These strategies can help mitigate the risk of future disasters and increase community resilience.
To see the results in detail and read more about our peer-reviewed publication on this research click on the link below:
Al Assi, A., Mostafiz, R. B., Friedland, C. J., Rohli, R. V., Taghinezhad, A., & Rahim, M. A.
(2023). Cost-effectiveness of federal CDBG-DR Road Home Program mitigation
assistance in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. Natural Hazards. DOI:10.21203/rs.3.rs-2126597/v1
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