Great news for California homeowners! The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) offers a seismic retrofit grant of up to $13,000 to eligible homeowners in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and Pasadena. The grant is part of the Earthquake Soft-Story (ESS) pilot program, aimed at strengthening soft-story homes against earthquake damage.
Soft-story homes have one floor of living space built above a garage and are vulnerable to damage because they may not be able to withstand the lateral movement from earthquake shaking. Therefore, houses with this condition may be prone to partial or complete collapse during an earthquake.
The ESS program is part of the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP), created by the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and Cal OES in 2011 to help Californians strengthen their houses against earthquake damage through incentive programs. The first of these programs, Earthquake Brace + Bolt, has already awarded grants to nearly 20,000 homeowners to complete a retrofit.
To apply for the ESS grant, eligible homeowners can visit http://EarthquakeSoftStory.com between April 25 and May 31, 2023. Here, they can find detailed program information, select from a list of FEMA-trained, California-licensed general contractors, and view the full list of eligible ZIP Codes. These ESS grants will be available to qualifying homeowners in 82 ZIP Codes.
Making a soft-story home more resistant to earthquake damage can be as straightforward as having a licensed contractor install new plywood sheathing or steel reinforcements on each side of the garage door and bracing the perimeter walls of the garage. 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 waitlist after registration closes.
Licensed contractors interested in participating should visit the CRMP website to find all the resources they need to get started in the program. CRMP offers free FEMA training, free marketing materials, and free listings to general contractors with a valid California license (Type A or B).
The ESS program is an excellent opportunity for California homeowners to prepare for the next big earthquake by offsetting the cost of completing a seismic retrofit. This program can help homeowners protect their families and their investments. For more information on the ESS program, visit http://EarthquakeSoftStory.com. To learn more about the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP), visit https://www.earthquakebracebolt.com/ceacrmp/. For more information on the Earthquake Brace + Bolt program, visit https://www.earthquakebracebolt.com/ .