JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - In the wake of massive flooding resulting from a destructive hurricane season, residents in Jackson County are hoping to send a message to congress as they work to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance program.
Martha Gallahue is on a mission for signatures. She's urging residents to sign and show congress support to reauthorize the program before it expires Sept. 30.
"We've gotten, I would say, about 200 or so signatures. I'd love to see a lot more," Gallahue said.
Most South Mississippians are familiar with the program from Hurricane Katrina. It's essentially the only flood insurance option for homeowners who live in flood-prone areas.
In the wake of the destruction left by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria - there's now a big push to reform the program before reauthorizing it.
"We want the program to continue to be funded and we want a more equitable playing field across the United States at the end of the day. But, we here in Pascagoula are particularly hurting because the way the maps have been drawn at this time," Gallahue said.
Currently, the program's policies encourage communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. For many in Pascagoula, that means elevating their homes.
"I always joke are you in an upper or a downer, because some people are on the ground still and some people are way up in the air," Gallahue said.
Based on where residents live on the programs flood map, insurance rates fluctuate. Gallahue says the people who have signed her petition are hoping to get some relief in their rates.
It's hurting their pocketbook. We're seeing more and more citizens leave. This has become 40 percent rental community," she added.
Gallahue hopes that while the Jackson County mayors are in Washington DC meeting with government leaders, they'll be able to take up the matter with FEMA. You can view and sign the petition here.