Tybee residents apply for FEMA grant to raise homes after Matthew and Irma

TYBEE ISLAND, GA- Many homeowners are applying for FEMA grants to receive help after the impact of Matthew and Irma, but not everyone will receive funding.

The City of Tybee Island is applying for the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program in February to help homeowners elevate their homes to prevent future water damage. According to Jason Buelterman, the Mayor of Tybee Island, more than 130 people have applied for funding, but not everyone will qualify.

“What we’re trying to do is narrow it down so that there’s a realistic chance we can get everybody on that list approved for funding, so just initially we’re looking at 20 and trying to include as many as we can.”

Mayor Buelterman explained the city won’t know whether or not they will receive the funding until next year, so they can’t give an accurate number of how many people will qualify. To be eligible for the grant, you have to own rather than rent a home, and your house cannot have been built before 1970. Marie Rodriguez, a Tybee Resident who applied for the grant, said the grant program is like auditioning for Wheel of Fortune. 

“A million people try out for it every year, so either we’re going to try out for it and get it, or not, but how do you know unless you try? You don’t,” she said. “We don’t even know, maybe they will get funding for five houses, maybe they get funding for 100 houses. Until they get to that point, they don’t know how many houses they’re going to do.”

However, whether Rodriguez is one of the people selected to receive this grant or the next, she told News 3 she’s confident the city will continue to pour its love into helping the community.

“You can’t say that you’ve had no help, because you either have Tybee strong, or the Red Cross or the United Way, there is always somebody that will help you if you don’t have help.”

Tybee homeowners have until Wednesday, January 17th, to fill out the packet and apply for funding.

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