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   HMGP Resource Site for Participants of the City of New Orleans Hazard Mitigation Grant Program
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The City of New Orleans Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is administered by the City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Funding for the program has been provided by the State of Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP) and the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA) largely through a grant provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mitigation Program Management Services are provided by Smart, Inc.

HMGP Guidelines

Guidelines for HMGP Elevation Projects
[jump to Reconstruction Projects]

Elevation Design

Repairs or reconnection of substandard utilities to sheds or other outbuildings are not eligible under the HMGP. Garages that are separated from the main structure are also not eligible. All costs of repairs or bringing these to code must be funded by sources other than HMGP.

The elevated structure must comply with the locally adopted floodplain ordinances. Local government is responsible for ensuring the structure is compliant with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The floodplain ordinance requirements include but are not limited to:

  1. Local Floodplain Development Permit
    All elevations are considered “development in the floodplain” and require a local permit prior to any onsite construction. Failure to obtain a local permit may result in a violation against the local floodplain ordinance and the NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program).
  2. Permanent Openings in Foundation Walls
    There is a minimum of two openings that can be placed in the enclosed walls.
    The two openings must be on different walls.
    The total net area of openings must not be less than one square inch for every square foot of enclosed area. The bottom of all openings must be no higher than one foot above the adjacent grade.
    Openings must be equipped with louvers, screens, valves, grates, or other devices that permit the entry and exit of floodwater without human intervention.
  3. Flood Resistant Materials
    All materials used at or below the flood protection elevation (which is a local determination) must be resistant to flood damage.
    Areas at or below flood protection elevation are to be used solely for the parking of vehicles, building access, or temporary storage.

Eligible Expenses

Grant funds will be made to the local jurisdiction or homeowner on a reimbursement basis. Documentation is required for all costs incurred. Elevation funds can be used to reimburse the following activities:

  1. Elevating the structure’s lowest floor or lowest mechanical equipment, at a minimum, to the advisory base flood elevation, to the base flood elevation, or to the elevation established in local floodplain ordinance, whichever is higher.
  2. HMGP elevation funds may not be used to repair, rehabilitate, or add to the habitable portion of the home.
  3. Relocation housing funds are available to cover some expenses incurred during the actual raising of the home for no more than 90 days.

Elevation Project Parameters

Only the costs of elevation and foundation retrofitting are eligible for reimbursement. No funds will be provided to restore, replace or repair the structure. No additions to the habitable spaces of the structure will be eligible for reimbursement.

When submitting cost reports to Smart, Inc. for reimbursement, expenditures incurred will be submitted on a line item basis. Reimbursement forms will be provided by Smart.

To receive a final reimbursement for an elevated structure, the homeowner must present a final Elevation Certificate and a Certificate of Occupancy.

Donated labor and/or materials, owner’s labor or non-profit organization donations of labor and materials are not eligible for reimbursement

Owners of properties included in the elevation program are required to carry flood insurance in perpetuity on the elevated structure, and a statement of voluntary participation must be signed and enclosed in the project file. The owner must modify the deed of trust for the property to add language that requires the current and all future owners of the property to maintain a flood insurance policy that provides coverage that is at least equal to the cost of elevation.

Elevation Related Policy

  1. Elevation projects must be cost effective, as determined by City of New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP).
  2. Foundation repair is an eligible cost only if necessary for the safe elevation of the structure. Accordingly, repairs to building support systems (sills, girders, beams, etc.) are eligible for reimbursement only if replacement is required because existing members are undersized to meet the specifications of the new foundation design.
  3. During an elevation project, Smart, Inc. strongly advises against any concurrent additional work done at the homeowner’s expense. Work performed at the homeowner’s expense should be scheduled after the HMGP elevation work is complete or in such a manner as not to delay the HMGP work underway. Accordingly, Smart, Inc. must approve additional work beyond the scope of work in the form of a change order.
  4. Change orders related to the elevation scope of work must be approved in advance by Smart, Inc. Change orders not related to the scope of work, i.e. those requested by a homeowner, will not be considered since they are ineligible for reimbursement.
  5. The construction of existing new decks or making improvements to existing decks, porches, and carports is not eligible under HMGP. The elevation of existing decks, porches, and carports must be cost effective and approved in the original Scope of Work.
  6. No homeowner requests for improvements will be allowed. Any homeowner funded improvement work must be performed after all HMGP work is completed.
  7. Repairs and/or improvements to landscaping, sidewalks and driveways are not HMGP eligible expenses. Any damage incurred as a result of the elevation process to landscaping, sidewalks or driveways shall be the responsibility of the homeowner and/or the contractor.
  8. Any structural member, addition or utilities removed as necessary to perform the elevation work and/or retrofitting work shall be handled on a case by case basis.
  9. The reconnections of utilities are eligible HMGP expenses, provided the connections are not outside the footprint of the house.
  10. All structural components must be adequately connected and anchored to prevent flotation, collapse, or lateral movement of the building during floods.
  11. The space below the lowest floor may only be used for parking of vehicles, building access, or storage. In a coastal velocity zone, the space below the lowest floor must be either free of obstruction or constructed with non-supporting breakaway walls, open wood lattice-work, or insect screening intended to collapse under wind and water loads without causing collapse, displacement, or other structural damage to the elevated portion of the building or supporting foundation.


Guidelines for HMGP Reconstruction Projects

Implementation Requirements

Reconstruction eligibility will follow Hazard Mitigation Grant Program guidance by following.

  1. Eligible applicants may receive HMGP funds to demolish an existing structure and construct an improved, elevated structure on the same site.
  2. Projects completed as part of the HMGP Reconstruction Grant Pilot should result in the construction of a code-compliant and hazard resistant structure on an elevated foundation system.
  3. A Certificate of Occupancy must be issued by a qualified building official to certify that the construction was properly completed.
  4. Property Owners are required to adopt deed restrictions which require that flood insurance coverage be maintained on the property.
  5. Homes must be designed and constructed, at a minimum, to the requirements of the 2003 edition of the International Building Code, or The International Residential Code for One and Two Family Dwellings published by the International Code Council. Use of the 2006 editions of the International Codes is strongly encouraged.

Eligible Demolition/Removal Activities

  1. Mitigation reconstruction projects will include either total or partial demolition of the site. All demolition debris (hazardous and non-hazardous) shall be removed and taken to an approved landfill. The following should be considered during demolition:
  2. All asbestos must be abated and disposed of properly.
  3. All residential improvements not included in the mitigation reconstruction project,
    Including but not limited to structures, garages and above-grade concrete slabs may be removed.
  4. Any abandoned septic tanks that are not removed shall be emptied, have the floors and walls cracked or crumbled to prevent the tank from holding water and be filled with sand or other clean fill.
  5. All foundation and basement walls not included within the mitigation reconstruction project footprint shall be removed to at least 1 foot below the finish grade of the site or as necessary to construct the new foundations.
  6. All basements not included within the mitigation reconstruction project footprint shall be filled with compacted clean fill. Prior to filling, basement floors should be provided with a minimum 1 foot diameter hole in the floor to allow for drainage.
  7. Only trees which restrict the demolition and reconstruction work on any structure may be removed.
  8. Any abandoned utilities shall be terminated at least 2 feet below the finish grade of the site.
  9. Any abandoned wells shall be capped and/or associated components may be removed.
  10. All disturbed areas must be graded and leveled. The top 12 inches of soil should be capable of encouraging vegetation in areas not included in the reconstructed footprint.

Ineligible Reconstruction Activities and Costs

Certain reconstruction activities and their associated costs are not eligible. Ineligible activities and cost include but not limited to the following:

  1. Properties located in floodways as identified on the effective FIRMs;
  2. Properties that are the subject of pending litigation;
  3. Unapproved scope changes;
  4. Landscaping for ornamentation (trees, shrubs, etc.);
  5. Decks and garages not included as part of the foundation system;
  6. Site remediation of hazardous contaminants; and
  7. Maintenance Costs.

Flood Insurance and Enclosure Requirements

  1. When the project is completed, all structures must be covered by flood insurance to an amount at least equal to the project cost or to the maximum limit of coverage made available with respect to the particular property, whichever is less; and
  2. The Property Owner will legally record with Orleans Parish a notice that includes the name of the current Property Owner (including book/page reference to record of current title), a legal Description of the property and the following notice of flood insurance requirements:

“This property has received Federal hazard mitigation assistance. Federal law requires that insurance coverage on this property must be maintained during the life of the property regardless of transfer of ownership of such property. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 5154a, failure to maintain flood insurance on this property may prohibit the owner from receiving Federal disaster assistance with respect to this property in the event of a flood disaster. The Property Owner also is required to maintain this property in accordance with the flood plain management criteria of Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 60.3 and City/County Ordinance. In addition to the criteria above, enclosed areas below the Base Flood Elevation in identified V Zones, or areas identified within the limit of 1.5 foot breaking waves, must not exceed 299 square feet and must be constructed with non-supporting breakaway walls”

Approximation of Original Square Footage

Reconstruction activities must result only in an approximation of the original square footage of the structure. The square footage of all resulting structures shall be no more than 10 percent greater than that of the original structure. The final square footage will be verified at the time of sub grant closeout for compliance with this requirement. The original square footage shall be considered that portion of the structure, which was situated on a foundation system. As such, breezeways, decks, garages, etc. will not be considered part of the original square footage unless they were situated on the original foundation system.

Specific Construction Standards

  1. Projects shall be designed and constructed to the minimum standard as established by the requirements of the 2003 International Codes.
  2. Project construction documents, including design drawings and specifications, shall be signed and sealed by a design professional licensed in the State of Louisiana and certified for compliance with the codes, standards, and minimum construction requirements specified in this guidance. Construction documents must be produced prior to the start of construction. The construction documents shall include a statement that the design meets or exceeds the applicable 2003 International Code.

Plan Review and Inspections

Construction drawings and specifications shall be reviewed by the City of New Orleans prior to the start of construction.

Builder Certification

At a minimum, all work must be performed by contractors licensed or registered in the State of Louisiana and who maintains appropriate insurance coverage.


  1. Project design will be performed by, or under the direct supervision of a design professional. The design includes all calculations, analysis and research necessary to determine the focus expected to act on the project structure, including all attachments and appurtenances, and the selection of structural framing members sufficient to provide a load path for all load bearing members to transfer design loads to the foundations and the details of connections required to transfer load from one member to another in accordance with the design concept.
  2. For guidance with foundation design, refer to FEMA 550, Recommended Residential Construction for the Gulf Coast; Building on Strong and Safe Foundations.
  3. Prior to construction, each project must obtain all applicable permits and pay all required permitting fees. Applicable permits are expected to include, but not limited to the following:
  • Zoning or land use approvals;
  • Environmental permits or required certifications;
  • Historic preservation approvals; and
  • Building permits.

Site Preparation

Site preparation activities include demolition of substantially damaged structures removal and disposal of project debris required site environmental restoration, utility relocation and site grading required as part of the project. Environmental site remediation costs are not eligible; the properties must be certified as “clean” by the appropriate State office before project funds may be expended on the site.

Foundation Construction

  1. Foundation construction activities include installation, monitoring and testing if required of foundations supporting the structure. Based on the impacted areas and the expectation that project structures will be required to be elevated, many projects will be supported on an open, pile-driven foundation system. Detailed guidance on foundation construction can be found in FEMA 550, Recommended Residential Construction for the Gulf Coast: Building on Strong and Safe Foundations.
  2. Installation of the open foundation system shall be monitored to assure that the foundation elements are installed to the depth and achieve the load capacity specified in the construction documents.

Structural Shell Construction

Structural shell construction activities include all framing, load carrying elements, attachments and building envelope components above the foundation. As rough in installation of electrical, communications, plumbing and mechanical systems may require drilling through or making notches in load carrying elements, such rough in work also is part of the structural shell construction activities. Structural shell construction activities must include an inspection of the completed shell prior to interior work covering the framing.

Interior Finishes

Interior finish activities include installation of interior walls, flooring, wiring/lighting fixtures insulation, plumbing and mechanical fixtures, kitchen/bath counters, cabinets, sinks, toilets, tub/shower and HVAC. Inspections of these interior finish activities shall be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the applicable International Code Council building code.

Construction Completion

Construction completion activities consist of conducting final inspections, preparation of a final elevation certificate issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy for the structure.

Scope of Work Changes

Requests for changes to the Scope of Work after award are permissible as long as they do not change the nature of the activity, the feasibility and effectiveness of the project or the Benefit Cost Ratio. Scope of work changes can include the type of foundation (ie, from closed to open), and the type of structure to be constructed (e.g., from masonry to wood frame).


. Elevation Side


Learn about HMGP Guidelines
General guidelines for both Elevation and Pilot Reconstruction HMGP projects. Guidelines

Read the FAQs
Check our Frequently Asked Questions area to find answers to your questions about HMGP. FAQs

Download Forms and Guides
Check the Resources area to download Guidebooks and Forms for use in your mitigation project. Resources