FEMA Spends Millions On Private Homes

fema320_cvr_2008One day last week I received a robocall from the city (I live in Midwest City), telling me about a program in which I could participate that would allow me to install a residential safe room in my house and be partially reimbursed with funding from FEMA.  Residents are to submit a voluntary participation form to enter a lottery which will be used to select participants in the program. 

The details from the form: 

“I, _____________, certify that I am the owner of the above described property and that it is my primary residence.  I agree to comply with criteria and guidelines for the Safe Room Rebate Incentive Program.  I understand that this is a reimbursement program approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and that, as the applicant, am required to complete my financial obligation to my contractor prior to seeking reimbursement from the grant administrator.  I understand that the local share match of 25% is my responsibility.  I, as the applicant, will receive reimbursement from City of Midwest City for 75% of costs up to a maximum of $2,000 upon receipt by City of Midwest City of funds from FEMA.  City of Midwest City will have no obligation of reimbursement to the applicant if, for any reason, funds are not received from FEMA.  A contractual obligation between me and the grant administrator does not exist until I have been notified of my acceptance into the Safe Room Rebate Program.  I will not initiate a contract for installation of the safe room, under this program, before notification of Acceptance I agree to submit a report of my progress in installing the safe room, within 90 days of the date of my acceptance letter, if accepted into the Storm Shelter Incentive Program.  My safe room will meet or exceed FEMA 320 Standards and I will get a signed statement from my contractor stating this.”

This made me curious about this program so I looked at the FEMA website and found an entire section on residential safe rooms.  Just in the few minutes I examined the page I found that FEMA has spent MILLIONS giving rebates to private individuals who put storm shelters in their own homes. 

Here are just a few examples. There were many other programs for which no amounts were listed.

# of SheltersReimbursement Per ShelterTotal Spent 
559$2,910$1.6 million 
1105$2,304$2.5 million 
6016not given$3 million +  

State
Alabama Mississippi Oklahoma

Granted, storm shelters are extremely important when you live in Tornado Alley and have saved lives.  But, why should the federal government be spending millions for private individuals to put storm shelters in their private homes?  My tax dollars should not be paying for my neighbors storm shelter.

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