Acquisition and relocation in coastal communities: assessment of FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program 1989-2016

Authors: Anamaria Bukvic*, Virginia Tech
Topics: Migration, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: relocation, retreat, coastal, sea level rise
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Cabinet Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

With an increasing number of recurrent disasters, the dialogue on possibility of relocation or retreat from the high-risk locations has been increasingly taking place in many communities. Two main mechanisms to support relocation driven by hazards and disasters on a federal level is via the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The main objectives of this paper are to evaluate the applicability of these two programs to support relocation in coastal areas and to assess the acquisition, buyout, and relocation projects funded by HMGP program from 1989 to 2016. The results show which states have the highest number of implemented projects and received most funding for acquisition and relocation since 1989, as well as how these trends changed over time. They also highlight the issues related to the project cost and classification based on hazard type in different geographic locations using inland/riverine versus coastal typology. Lastly, the paper discusses the innovative policy and market mechanisms that could be deployed to incentivize the gradual voluntary relocation of residents from flood-ridden to alternative safer locations.

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