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Flood victims rebuild: Whatcom County seeks money to buy out, elevate properties

This could be the next image of flood recovery: Houses raised up from their foundations to be repositioned several feet higher, if rebuilt at all.

Several homeowners in hard-hit Sumas have taken the action already, without knowing for sure if they will be reimbursed part of their costs of doing so. Their effort is through the National Flood Insurance Program of FEMA, which offers a maximum of $30,000 for personally doing “flood risk mitigation” such as raising a house out of floods’ reach. Usually it is only partial reimbursement.

A different effort altogether is being made by Whatcom County government.

Application has been made to FEMA for $13.5 million to acquire 24 flood-risk properties and for $3 million to elevate 17 other properties, said Gary Stoyka, county Public Works natural resources program manager.

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