Flood-Prone Homes Get A Lift Thanks To Federal Program

Through FEMA, The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is offering grants to raise homes in flood-prone areas off the ground, even if they were built on concrete slabs. Pass Christian Isles resident Joyce Linkey knows all too well the mental and physical damage a flood can have on a home and its owner.

"We flooded three times in one year," she said. "Anyone who has ever flooded, they know how much work it is, and we lost a lot of our possessions, things that can't be replaced. Hopefully once this is up we can start living again.

The Linkey's new home was built on a concrete slab. A construction crew with Childress Construction Co. will raise the home 9 feet off the ground, then place it on stilts.

"We find all of the weight load zones where the heaviest points are and the lightest points are, and we set our cylinders up accordingly to that," Tommy Childress said. "Each cylinder has a 25-ton weight load capacity."

It's a tedious process that can take months to complete depending on the size of the home and weather conditions. Under normal circumstances it will take about three months to raise a house the size of the Linkey's.

"It takes us about 35 minutes to make an 8-inch lift. So we lift it 8 inches, we put a solid cement block in it, reset our cylinders, and go up 8 inches again. Due to the size of it moving that slowly, you could stand inside it and hardly realize that it's going up."

Another home in Pass Christian Isles was raised a little more than 8 feet off the ground. The State and Federal program offered to home owners pays 75 percent of the cost. Home owners must come up with the other 25 percent.

"The 75/25, there's no way we could have done it without it," Linkey said.

The Linkey's say that's a small price to pay to increase the value of your home, while at the same time gaining peace of mind.

The cost of raising a home built on a concrete slab is around $45 a square foot. The program is offered in communities with the Project Impact Program. For more information you can contact MEMA at 601-965-9031.