PEARL, Miss. (MEMA) – The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency is launching the Individual Safe Room Program to help residents in disaster-prone areas build a safe room/ storm shelter from severe weather. The application process is open from August 1, 2022 – October 31, 2022. Mitigation funds from the Backwater Flooding/ Tornado Disaster (FEMA-MS-4429) will provide reimbursements to residents who build a safe room/storm shelter during this program. These funds cannot be backdated to previous safe rooms built. Applicants could be eligible for a 75% reimbursement or up to $3500 for the cost of installing a safe room. With $2.5 million, MEMA anticipates building over 600 safe rooms with this current grant money.
Residents in the eight federally declared counties for Individual Assistance during the Backwater Flooding Disaster Declaration are eligible for the Individual Safe Room Program: Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren, Yazoo.
“We are excited to offer the Individual Safe Room Program. Opening the program statewide will take time because funding is tied to specific disasters and certain counties impacted by those events. I want Mississippians to know we are working many avenues to ensure this program is more accessible for all citizens,” says MEMA Executive Director Stephen McCraney.
Eligible applicants can apply at my.msema.org and click Safe Room Application. MEMA will contact the applicant to confirm receipt of the application. To inquire about the Individual Safe Room Program, potential applicants can call: 1-833-592-6362 (MEMA). The call center and application will open on August 1, 2022, at 9:00 a.m.
*The applicant cannot install a safe room. A licensed contractor must install it. Safe rooms/ storm shelters must be installed after MEMA approval.
Important documentation will be required throughout the program, including:
- Proof of Home and Land Ownership
- Signed Certificate of Installation
- Proof of Payment
- Coordinates for the location of the safe room
- Local Building Permit
- Zoning Permit (If Required)
- Before and After Photos of the Safe Room Construction Site
*It’s important to note renters are not eligible for the Individual Safe Room Program.
In February 2019, the Mississippi River rose to record levels, causing almost 10 million dollars worth of damage to individual and commercial properties. After days of severe weather, Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren, and Yazoo counties became inaccessible due to high flood waters and mudslides brought on by the storm’s heavy rain, straight-line winds, and tornadoes that spread through the area. This severe weather system brought over 20 inches of rain, inundating the Yazoo Backwater area for 219 days, reaching 98.2 feet in May, breaking its record of 69.5 feet in 1973.
In the previous safe room program, MEMA helped fund the construction of about 10,000 safe rooms statewide.