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Press Release

October 18, 2022

$80 Million In Grant Funding Now Available for California Homeowners to Help Offset the Cost of a Seismic Retrofit

Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program Offering More Grants than Ever Before to Help Homeowners in 521 High-Risk ZIP Codes be Prepared for the Next Big One

Sacramento, CA – More California homeowners than ever before will be eligible for up to $3,000 in seismic retrofit grants through Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB), a program jointly administered by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Nearly $80 million in grant funding is available starting today and continuing through November 29 to help offset the cost of seismic retrofits that brace the cripple walls of older homes, when present, and bolt houses to their foundations, making them less vulnerable to earthquake damage.

To put that in perspective, since 2014 when the first EBB retrofit was completed, EBB grants have helped more than 17,500 homeowners retrofit their houses. With the increased funding allotment for this year, the program will be able to offer a minimum of 15,000 EBB retrofit grants in 521 ZIP Codes.

“EBB’s growth is helping more California homeowners prepare for the next big earthquake by offsetting the cost of completing a seismic retrofit,” said Janiele Maffei, chief mitigation officer of CEA and executive director of EBB at the kick-off event this morning in Burbank. “The EBB program can help Californians protect their families, their homes and their investments, and we encourage homeowners in EBB ZIP Codes to apply for funding during the registration period this fall.”

Beginning October 18 through November 29, 2022, eligible homeowners can apply for retrofit funding at EarthquakeBraceBolt.com, where they can also find detailed program information, select a FEMA-trained, California-licensed general contractor and view the full list of eligible ZIP Codes and program areas. Thanks to additional FEMA funding that is administered by Cal OES, EBB grants will be available to homeowners in 521 ZIP Codes in more than 270 cities and communities. The EBB program added ZIP Codes in new areas including, but not limited to, San Diego, Concord, Santa Cruz, Northridge and Ontario.

Once registration closes, participating homeowners will be selected through a random drawing and notified via email if they have been selected or if they have been placed on the wait list.

“When I purchased my home last year, my realtor helpfully pointed out, that as an older home, mine would be an ideal candidate for a seismic retrofit,” said Paige Oliver, the owner of the home that was the site of today’s news conference. “But having just bought the house, I worried about the out-of-pocket cost to safeguard it against the potential threat of an earthquake. That’s why I’m so grateful to the Brace + Bolt program for offering these grants so I could get the work completed inexpensively and give myself peace of mind that if disaster strikes, I’m prepared.”

Income-eligible homeowners may also qualify for available supplemental grants. The amounts vary depending on the region and type of retrofit completed. These supplemental grants, which are available for households with an income at or below $72,080, may be able to provide up to 100% of the funds needed to cover a seismic retrofit. Grants are contingent upon meeting eligibility requirements and available funds.

“In California over the past few years, the Legislature and the Newsom administration have allocated unprecedented resources and implemented significant regulatory changes to create new housing options for those in need,” said California State Senator Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank). “One thing we cannot lose sight of in that effort is we must also take steps to safeguard our existing housing supply. That’s why it’s of vital importance that Californians with older homes take advantage of these available grants and get their homes braced and bolted.”

Added CEA CEO Glenn Pomeroy: “Older homes are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage, so it’s important that homeowners in high-seismic-hazard areas take proactive steps to reduce the risk of their home slipping off its foundation. CEA is committed to supporting California homeowners in their seismic mitigation efforts, and we’re particularly proud to offer supplemental grants to help income-eligible Californians complete seismic retrofits.”

According to CEA, more than 1.2 million houses in high-hazard ZIP Codes are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because of the way they were constructed. These homes are typically built before 1980, are wood framed with a raised foundation and may have a cripple wall in the crawl space under the house.

EBB ZIP Codes are selected using the following criteria weighted equally between two categories:

  1. Earthquake Hazard: Higher-hazard areas were identified using the United States Geological Survey (USGS) earthquake-hazard map for California.
  2. Seismic Vulnerability of Houses: The seismic vulnerability of houses located in California’s higher-hazard ZIP Codes was represented by the percentage of pre-1940 houses in each of those ZIP Codes—older houses are more likely to require seismically resistant bracing and bolting.

About Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB)

Established by the California Residential Mitigation Program, EBB offers grants to help California homeowners retrofit their house to reduce potential damage from earthquakes. A residential seismic retrofit makes a house more resistant to earthquake activity, such as ground shaking and soil failure, by bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter of the crawl space, if needed. For more information, including an online media kit, please visit http://www.EarthquakeBrace Bolt.com.

About the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP)

CRMP was established in 2011 to help Californians strengthen their homes against damage from earthquakes. CRMP is a joint powers authority created by the California Earthquake Authority and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. For more information, please visit https://www.californiaresidentialmitigationprogram.com/About-CRMP.

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