Eligible homeowners can receive grants of up to $3,000 for seismic retrofits of their older homes, making them more resistant to earthquake damage. Homeowners have until Feb. 23 to apply for a grant from the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program.
EBB is expanding eligibility, bringing the total to 51. The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) has provided $6 million for the grants this year, enough to support an additional 2,000 or more code-compliant seismic retrofits.
In Napa County, only people living in the 94558 and 94559 ZIP codes are eligible.
“The natural disasters of 2017 remind us of the need to be prepared for the major earthquakes that are inevitable in California,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Californians can protect their families by strengthening older homes, which are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage, and by making sure they have the financial strength to rebuild with earthquake insurance.”
Homes with qualifying retrofits are eligible for discounts of up to 20 percent on CEA earthquake insurance premiums.
More than 1.2 million houses in high-hazard areas of California are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because of the type of construction, according to the CEA. These homes are typically built before 1979, have a wood frame on a raised foundation and have a cripple wall in the crawl space under the house.
The EBB’s searchable Contractor Directory lists almost 900 trained contractors as of the end of 2017.
Typical retrofits for the type of homes currently funded by EBB grants cost between $3,500 and $5,500, and involve bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter.
In the 6.0-magnitude Napa earthquake of 2014, homeowners received estimates of up to $300,000 to put their houses back on their foundations.
Eligible homeowners can apply for retrofit funding at EarthquakeBraceBolt.com, where they can also find detailed program information, select a licensed FEMA-trained contractor and view the full list of eligible ZIP codes.