Brentwood begins process to apply for home elevation grants

Williamson County saw several inches of rain March 27-28. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)
Williamson County saw several inches of rain March 27-28. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)

Williamson County saw several inches of rain March 27-28. (Wendy Sturges/Community Impact Newspaper)

Following flooding caused by a heavy rain event March 27-28, the city of Brentwood has begun working with residents who may be interested in elevating their homes to avoid future flood damage.

During the storm, many homes in the city, particularly around Harpeth River Drive, Williamsburg Road and Parker Place, saw flooding after the area received upwards of 8 inches of rain. In response to the damage, the city held an informational meeting June 29 to educate residents about the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency's Hazard Mitigation Program, which offers grants for homeowners to complete flood mitigation work.

The city is looking to determine if enough residents are interested in the program before submitting a collective application on behalf of homeowners. According to Cindy Popplewell, a consultant with Wood Environment & Infrastructure Solutions, the program uses a cost/benefit analysis to determine if homes are eligible for grant money.

Projects that are eligible for grants include home elevation and home acquisitions, she said.

"We're talking about those sustained actions that are taken to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk to people in property from future hazard events, and the key words there are sustained and long-term," Popplewell said. "Hazard mitigation doesn't refer to maintenance activities or temporary solutions like sandbagging. We're looking at more of those permanent long-term solutions. We know that there are benefits to hazard mitigation actions. We know that those actions save lives; they decrease property damage; they help reduce disruptions to our utilities; they help protect critical infrastructure; and they're financially beneficial. There have been several studies done over the years that most recently determined that for every dollar that we spend on hazard mitigation assistance, we see back $6 in benefits in that return."

To determine if homes qualify, Popplewell said the city and homeowners will need to have homes undergo surveying and engineering analysis to determine the cost/benefit of elevating the home.

Once that work is complete, the city can submit an application to TEMA, which receives emergency funding after a disaster declaration is made, such as during the recent flooding and winter storms, Popplewell said. However, the grant program is competitive, meaning the city would submit applications alongside other cities competing for the same funds.

Additionally, the grant would not cover the entire cost of elevating a home. Popplewell said under the program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency would cover 75%, TEMA would cover 12.5% and individual homeowners would cover the remaining 12.5%.

According to the city, the grant application process can take several months before the city will learn if it is eligible to receive grant money. A preliminary timeline presented during the meeting showed construction could take until January 2023 to begin.

Residents who may be interested in applying for grant money to elevate their home are encouraged to reach out to the city by contacting 615-371-2232.

Read more about elevating homes in Brentwood here.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.


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