Homeowners can get money for earthquake retrofits. Here is how

Are you looking for financial help to keep your home safer during an earthquake? Each year, the state’s Earthquake Brace and Bolt program offers a limited number of grants to homeowners to pay for seismic retrofitting of their homes. Applications for this year’s scholarships are accepted from now until November.

More than 1 million homes in California need retrofitting, which takes about a day, according to Janiele Maffei, chief mitigation officer of the California Earthquake Authority.

Standard seismic retrofitting can cost up to $ 5,000 in Southern California, an expense that is too expensive for many. The Brace and Bolt Scholarship can help.

The grant provides eligible homeowners who have not yet retrofitted up to $ 3,000 to pay for bracing and bolting costs. Low-income homeowners can qualify for an additional $ 1,000.

MP Adrin Nazarian (D-North Hollywood) encouraged Californians to retrofit their homes even if they don’t get a grant.

“It’s a small cost compared to the terrible damage and hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses that could be incurred if a home was damaged,” he said.

What is a seismic retrofit?

Earthquakes threaten to tear the frame of a house from its foundation and collapse the walls that support it, making it unstable and uninhabitable. Seismic retrofits solve this problem in two ways: by bolting the frame of a house to its concrete foundation, and by adding plywood braces to reinforce the walls in the crawl space below the first floor.

These two steps have proven to be the most effective way to mitigate damage from a major earthquake, Maffei said. If you own a home that was built before 1980, you should have reasonable suspicions that an upgrade is required. Newer houses had to comply with building codes that were more tailored to earthquake risks.

To learn more about how to protect your home, check out the Times Guide to Seismic Retrofitting.

Who is eligible for the program?

To qualify for the Brace and Bolt program, you must:

  • You can prove that you own the house and that it is your primary residence.
  • Live in the EBB program area.
  • Live in a house that was built before 1980.
  • Do you have an elevated foundation or crawl space.
  • Live in a house that is on level ground or on a slight slope.
  • You don’t have a seismically upgraded house yet.

To qualify for the supplementary grant, you must also provide evidence that your annual income is $ 72,080 or less.

How to apply

To submit your application for the Earthquake Brace and Bolt program, visit earthquakebracebolt.com/register. The last application day is December 1st.

Since the program does not have sufficient funds to meet demand, homeowners’ applications are drawn at random from a lottery. The EBB website warns that applicants “must not seek approval or begin remedial work before they are accepted into the program”. otherwise they will be declared ineligible.

The $ 3,000 grant is not paid until the applicant provides evidence of the completion of the work. However, a grant may be raised earlier to reimburse the costs of the building permit and the contractor’s deposit.

Do I really need to convert my home?

If you have an older home with a crawl space, the short answer is yes.

As Steve Bohlen, acting state geologist with the California Geological Survey, puts it, most of us won’t die in the earthquake, but how well you survive depends on how well you prepare.

The truth is, the big one will not be a catastrophic event in which part of the state is split off from the continental US. However, it will affect the life of almost every Californian.

Bohlen said that if you live in California, there is a 99 percent chance that you will be affected by an earthquake of magnitude 6.7 or greater in your lifetime.

Most Californians live within 30 miles of a fault, he said, “so it is vital to be prepared and do whatever you need to do to protect your life and property.”

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