The program was designed by the Portland Housing Bureau to provide free Elevation Certificates, home assessments, and insurance counselling to stabilize low-income homeowners by saving money on their flood insurance. Over the past 5 years, FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been the subject of legislative scrutiny and reform because it is deeply in debt ($24.6 billion in debt earlier this year, before Hurricanes Harvey and Irma).
To guarantee the NFIP remains solvent, Congress has been phasing out subsidies that have made flood insurance affordable, causing individual premiums to rise at as much as 18 percent each year. Rising flood insurance rates can have an impact on housing affordability and threaten to displace low-income homeowners around the nation.
In response to these concerns, the City of Portland and Enhabit launched the pilot program to learn about flood insurance, how it impacts diverse communities in East Portland, and to develop solutions that can stabilize low-income homeowners and prevent displacement. The pilot Flood Insurance Savings Program an early intervention from the Lents Stabilization and Job Creation Collaborative, which is examining long-term options to successfully mitigate against the possibility of a 100-year flood caused by Johnson Creek.