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Program to help Mississippi residents build safe rooms

Image courtesy of MEMA

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is launching the Individual Safe Room Program to help residents in disaster-prone areas build a safe room to protect themselves from severe weather.

Applicants could be eligible for a 75% reimbursement, or up to $3,500, for the cost of installing a safe room. With $2.5 million, MEMA anticipates building over 600 safe rooms with this existing grant money.

Residents in Clay, Humphreys, Issaquena, Lowndes, Monroe, Sharkey, Warren, and Yazoo counties will be able to apply for the program since they live in areas that qualified for Individual Assistance during the Backwater Flooding Disaster Declaration in 2019.

Although the program is initially limited to residents of those eight counties, MEMA Director Stephen McCraney wants to open it up for all Mississippians, but he believes that it will take time to get the requisite funding.

“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,” McCraney said. “I want Mississippians to know we are working many avenues to ensure this program is more accessible for all citizens.”

Mitigation funds from the Backwater Flooding and Tornado Disaster Declarations will also provide reimbursements to residents who build a safe room. These funds cannot be backdated to previous safe rooms built.

Important documentation that will be required for the program include:

  • Proof of Home and Land Ownership.
  • Signed Certificate of Installation.
  • Receipts.
  • 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.
  • W-9.

The application process is open from now until October 31, 2022. Eligible applicants can apply here. MEMA will contact the applicant to confirm receipt of the application. The applicant cannot install a safe room. A licensed contractor must install it after receiving approval from MEMA.

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