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CA Department of Insurance

Registration opens for $3,000 seismic retrofit grants

News: 2018 Press Release

For Release: January 23, 2018
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Registration opens for $3,000 seismic retrofit grants
Earthquake Brace + Bolt available to more homeowners in more California cities
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Registration opens today for eligible homeowners to receive grants of up to $3,000 for seismic retrofits of their older homes, making them more resistant to earthquake damage. Homeowners have until February 23, 2018, to apply for a grant from the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program.

EBB is expanding eligibility this year to 17 additional California cities in high hazard areas, bringing the total to 51. The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) has provided $6 million in funding for the grants this year, enough to support an additional 2,000 or more code-compliant seismic retrofits.

"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 more houses a neighborhood has that have been retrofitted, the fewer condemned buildings will blight the neighborhood after a catastrophic earthquake and the faster life can return to normal," stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. "I strongly encourage eligible residents to apply for EBB grants and retrofit their homes."

"EBB sees increasing momentum and awareness for seismic retrofits among homeowners, local officials and contractors," said Janiele Maffei, chief mitigation officer of the CEA and executive director of EBB. "By helping kick-start a retrofit movement, we are working to reduce the number of Californians who lose their homes in the next catastrophic earthquake."

In addition to offering the grants, EBB works with local building departments on the permitting process for retrofits and to grow the base of contractors trained to do code-compliant retrofits. The EBB's searchable Contractor Directory lists almost 900 trained contractors as of the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, CEA and EBB continue to promote earthquake safety by funding development of seismic retrofit codes and plans to include a broader set of housing types. The results of that research will be released later this year.

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. The cost is minimal compared to earthquake damage, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. In the relatively moderate 6.0-magnitude Napa earthquake of 2014, homeowners received estimates of up to $300,000 to put their houses back on their foundations.

How to Apply for EBB Grants
Beginning January 23 and through February 23, 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.

The 2018 program will be available in select ZIP Codes in the following cities:

Northern California   Southern California  
Albany Piedmont Alhambra Redlands
Berkeley Redwood City
Altadena San Bernardino
Burlingame San Bruno
Claremont San Fernando
Colma San Carlos
Colton San Gabriel
Daly City San Francisco
Fillmore San Marino
El Cerrito San Leandro Glendale Santa Barbara
Emeryville San Mateo
Granada Hills
Santa Monica
Eureka Watsonville La Crescenta
Santa Paula
Hayward Woodside La Verne
Sierra Madre
Hillsborough   Los Angeles
South Pasadena
Los Gatos   Mission Hills
Sun Valley
Millbrae   Monrovia Valley Village
Napa   Montecito West Hollywood
Oakland   Pasadena  




About Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB)
Established by the California Residential Mitigation Program, EBB offers up to $3,000 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. For more information, please visit http://www.EarthquakeBraceBolt.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 http://www.CaliforniaResidentialMitigationProgram.com.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.4357. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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