Harrisburg, January 18, 2012 – State Senator Vincent J. Hughes (D-Phila./Montgomery) today announced plans to introduce legislation that would provide low interest loans to homeowners and small businesses to purchase and install products that minimize the impact of flooding on one’s property.
“As we all know, numerous areas of the Commonwealth were devastated by flooding in 2011 due to Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee,” Hughes said. “Here in my district, homes and businesses were severely damaged by flooding.
“By encouraging and assisting property owners to take steps to ‘flood-proof’ their homes and businesses, we can potentially mitigate damage from future flooding events and provide our residents with peace of mind that their homes are adequately protected.”
Hughes added that outside of major weather events residents in Springfield Township, Philadelphia and suburban communities in his district experience multiple floods per year solely because of storms. This legislation would help to ease the damage incurred to these communities due to flooding.
The Hughes legislation would create the Homeowner and Small Business Flood Control and Prevention Loan Program. This revolving loan program would be administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA).
The loans would be capped at $10,000, with a maximum interest rate of 3 percent. The CFA could also award up to $1 million in grants to low-income applicants. Funding for the program would come from a $10 million transfer from current funds available for flood control projects under the H2O PA Act.
“The property damage from Irene and Lee measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars, not to mention the additional property damage that many of our homeowners and business owners see as a result of flash flooding that occurs during violent rainstorms,” Hughes said. “These flooding events are often just as disastrous as a major weather event, yet occur more often. It is important that we get proactive about addressing flood issues so we are not faced with such devastating loss during weather events. This legislation helps to do that.”
Hughes added that the CFA currently has approximately $71 million in unused funds for flood control projects; but those funds are not available to homeowners and small business.