With the Federal Emergency Management Agency freezing previously approved funds following Hurricane Irene, Mayor Karl Dean is urging congress to restore $30.4 million in dollars that had been designated for Nashville’s flood buyout program.
On Thursday, FEMA officials notified Dean that $30.4 million in federal funds are on hold indefinitely for the city’s three remaining federal home buyout packages, a plan implemented following Nashville’s May 2010 flood.
Under the buyout plan, flood-damaged residential properties in Nashville’s most flood-prone areas are in the process of being purchased before homes are to be torn town to clear the way for green space.
“I urge Congress to give FEMA the funds it needs so that flood victims in Nashville can get the money they have rightfully been anticipating for months now,” Dean said in a statement.
“I understand homeowners’ deep frustrations, and I call on Congress to act quickly,” he added. “Nashvillians have already been victims of the flood. They should not also have to be victims of congressional delay.”
In all, 225 homeowners are scheduled to be a part of the home buyout plan. The majority of funding comes from FEMA and the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.
Metro has already closed on 94 homes, and another 12 properties aren’t affected by FEMA’s delay. That leaves 119 homes still waiting on congressional action.
Congress is currently on recess but U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said in a statement a freeze would have been expected for Nashville's flood had FEMA been short on funds at the time of the disaster.
“In May of 2010, we would have expected the same response had the agency been short on funds," Cooper said. "Congress needs to get to work and deal with restoring funding for FEMA immediately. Some want to play games, but this is no time to do that when people in Nashville are still hurting.”