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The City of Portland will dedicate $100K to mitigate and prevent displacement among East Portland homeowners living in flood zones. Homeowners in flood-prone areas are facing rapidly rising insurance premiums due to increasing flooding throughout the country. In Portland, as many as 800 households in the Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods face substantial financial and environmental risk from the Johnson Creek floodplain. An 18% annual increase in mandatory flood insurance premiums for local homeowners is threatening some in East Portland with displacement.
"FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is drowning because of climate change, leaving homeowners vulnerable,” says Mayor Ted Wheeler, noting the rising insurance premiums. “In Portland’s flood-prone areas, we must make sure that rising flood insurance premiums don’t displace residents, especially our low-income communities."
In June 2017, the Portland Housing Bureau tasked local nonprofit Enhabit to manage a pilot program for households in the Lents and Powellhurst-Gilbert neighborhoods to help homeowners save money and stay in their homes. During the 3-month period, Enhabit completed home assessments and insurance reviews for 33 households, delivering an average of $744 a year in direct flood insurance savings – or $22,300 over 30 years.
"The pilot was small but yielded promising results that we’re eager to replicate,” notes Enhabit CEO Tim Miller. “We’re ready to help more residents reduce costs and stay in their homes,” he added.
The additional funding from the City will allow the Flood Insurance Savings Program to serve another 50 low- and moderate-income households this year with a no-cost home assessment. Participants are provided an elevation certificate detailing a home’s risk for flooding, which can be submitted to the homeowner’s insurance company to lower flood insurance rates. Savings can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year.
Homeowners like Tracie Badiang know this first hand. Tracie was slated to pay nearly $7,000 in flood insurance, but the program lowered her policy to just over $1,000 a year.
"The Flood Insurance Savings program helped me save money, which made my mortgage payment affordable again, and helped me navigate the very complex and convoluted bureaucracy around flood insurance,” says Badiang.
The Flood Insurance Savings Program offers homeowners an assessment to understand the unique flood risk of their home. For those with flood insurance, Enhabit will provide an evaluation of their current premium to ensure residents are paying a fair rate. For those without flood insurance right now, this program offers an opportunity to obtain vital coverage at an affordable rate. Low and moderate-income homeowners may qualify for this service at no cost. Insurance savings can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year.
Non-qualified, higher-income households can participate too, and benefit from Enhabit-negotiated discount pricing, services that will cost hundreds of dollars less than they could on their own.
Enhabit is now recruiting participants for the second round of funding. Those interested can apply online at www.enhabit.org/flood, or call the organization’s Floodplain Hotline directly at 971-544-8715. The deadline to submit an application is March 5, 2018.
Enhabit is a Northwest non-profit creating social impact through better living spaces. Enhabit home advisors work directly with homeowners to create efficient, healthy and safe home environments. From small upgrades to complete home retrofits, Enhabit is a trusted resource for financing, contractor matching, utility incentives and project quality assurance. www.enhabit.org
About the City of Portland Housing Bureau
The mission of the Portland Housing Bureau is to solve the unmet housing needs of the people of Portland by developing citywide housing policy, delivering programs that increase the supply of affordable housing and promote stable homeownership, and administering a broad range of federal and local resources. Through our policies, plans, and funding, PHB works to stabilize families in their current homes, provide new affordable housing opportunities, and foster equitable, integrated, and diverse communities.
For more information about the program, contact: Jacob Sherman
Or visit www.enhabit.org/flood