Scituate: Homeowners consider property elevation through FEMA flood grant

A wet and rainy Tuesday night welcomed an informational workshop on elevation grants, with a handful of Scituate residents interested in raising their homes through a reimbursement program with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, known as FEMA.

According to Town Planner Laura Harbottle, Scituate is only one of a few towns in the state that is involved in the FEMA grant program which has helped elevate about fifty Scituate homes since 1997, “Scituate has a really bad history of flooding. We’re one of the worst hit in the blizzard of ’78 and just overall we’ve been very badly hit because of the geography of Scituate.”

Robert Demers has lived in his home for thirteen years and said he’s considering raising his property after his Volvo station wagon was destroyed by a rain storm a few years ago, “My property abuts a marsh and the marsh, during a high tide full moon, the water will come up. Because of global warming it’s really changed the area that I live in. The water level is much high than it ever was.”

If a resident is grant-approved, they’d receive a flat reimbursement of $50,000. But according to Harbottle, Selectmen will vote next month to increase funding to 75% of the total cost of property elevation.

“They used to apply for a fixed amount of money and then divide it up. They wanted to divide it among as many people as possible but they changed the grant program so now it’s property by property by property the way they reimburse,” said Harbottle

The Scituate Town Planner said the cost of raising a home ranges from $75,000 to well over $100,000.

She also stated that a good candidate for a FEMA grant is a homeowner with flood insurance and has documented damage of previous flooding.

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About Trisha McNeilly

With a Bachelor’s Degree in American Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Boston under her belt, Trisha McNeilly joins us full-time as a general assignment and breaking news reporter having previously interned for WBZ-1030 AM in Boston. A South Shore resident her whole life, McNeilly grew up in Pembroke and is 22-years old.