Connecticut Denies Sandy Aid for Elevating Coastal Homes

Connecticut officials have rejected $18 million in requests for the latest round of Superstorm Sandy aid from shoreline homeowners who want to use the emergency funding to elevate their homes to avoid future storm damage.

The state sent rejection letters Monday to 94 applicants from Greenwich to East Haven who requested aid to raise their homes under the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which has $16.6 million available for Connecticut projects, the Hearst Connecticut Media Group reported.

photo: AIR Worldwide
photo: AIR Worldwide

Officials with the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection said the money would be better spent improving infrastructure that would protect communities from storm surges like the one that came with Sandy in 2012 and flooded many neighborhoods.

Projects in the running for the latest round of aid include a seawall project in Bridgeport, improvements to a sewage treatment plant in Milford and a levee upgrade in Fairfield.

A 10-member committee of state agency representatives and the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities decided to prioritize infrastructure improvement over individual home projects.

“The committee felt that the hardening of infrastructure would provide the greatest benefit for the most number of people with the limited funds available,” said Scott DeVico, a spokesman for the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Officials say there are other aid programs to help residents move their homes out of harm’s way.

Many shoreline residents are still dealing with damage to their homes from Sandy and aren’t happy with this week’s rejections of their aid applications.

Charlotte Schmid’s home in Milford was condemned after Sandy and remains uninhabitable, but her mortgage, tax and insurance bills keep coming.

“I sometimes think, ‘Why am I even trying?”‘ Schmid said. “I’ve been sitting here waiting patiently and complying, and I haven’t seen anything yet.”