Some Vermont property owners, whose homes were destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene, have received good news. Six towns have made formal offers to homeowners to buy their flood-damaged property using federal funds.
Bethel, Bridgewater, Bolton, Hartford, Plymouth and Rochester have made offers to buy a total of ten homes. These are the first properties where homeowners have actually received an offer, even though they’ve previously been approved for a buyout. A total of 89 have been approved for the federal buy-out. Most of the money comes from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is designed to make sure these properties don’t suffer flood-losses in the future by giving towns the money to buy the homes, demolish them and turn them into green space that will never be redeveloped. Additional funds come from the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
Lisa and Gary Alexander from Bethel, whose entire house washed away in the flood, are among the property owners to receive the offer. Lisa Alexander says she and her husband were happy with it and plan to move forward and find a new home.
"Persistence and patience has paid off," said Lisa Alexander. "I mean we really didn’t have any other choice other than to be patient and see this thing through because we lost everything."
The state expects the Alexander’s property and the nine others that have received offers to close by the end of this month. And that by the end of the summer all of the 89 properties will have closed. The state expects there will be additional properties that will be bought out after that.