Surge Reported in Jefferson County (Texas) Blue Roof Applications

November 4, 2005

Based on unexpected volume, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expects to do 10,000 more Blue Roofs than were originally anticipated in early assessments. The lion’s share of the new demand comes from Jefferson County, Texas residents.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which funds the Operation Blue Roof program, gives homeowners free, temporary roof protection from further rainwater damage. USACE administers the program, hiring contractors to install heavy duty plastic sheeting to patch damage.

After Hurricane Rita struck Southeast Texas, a multi-agency disaster assessment team originally estimated a need for almost 20,000 Blue Roofs in the 22-county disaster area, with 2,250 identified in Jefferson County. However, changes in weather, more public awareness of the program, and a reduced number of roofing contractors to make repairs are believed to have created a larger backlog of homes in the program.

To date, some 11,722 applications have been received from Jefferson County homeowners in USACE Right-of-Entry (ROE) Collection Centers. Homeowners must sign ROE forms to allow inspectors to enter private property to determine eligibility of the residence for a Blue Roof.

About 15-20 percent of applicants will be disqualified. To qualify, homes must be structurally sound, not have flat roofs, and have roof damage less than 50 percent. Fallen trees must be removed from the roof. Properties deemed eligible are placed in a queue for distribution to contractors. Once the contractor’s work is done, the Corps again visits the site to assure the quality of the work.

To date, 3,831 Blue Roofs have been completed in Jefferson County.

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