FEMA today released a case study outlining how a town secured $1.5 million through FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grants Program (HMGP) to convert over 1,200 residential utility services underground. The utility-lines had been repeatedly damaged by storms, and the town recognized that simply repairing them again and again made little sense.

“We are not offering customers a service by repeating what we did three or four decades ago. We have to quit pouring money into [downed power lines in] storm after storm and start finding ways to benefit customers and reduce future damages,” said Jack Looney, district engineering planner supervisor at Independence Power and Light. “We can do that through underground utility services.”

Building on the momentum of the initial grant, the town has now secured five other FEMA grants including two Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grants, bringing the total to nearly $11 million in aid.

While Independence, Missouri isn’t a coastal town, the same funds could, in theory, work wonders at reducing the challenges coastal communities face in the wake of storms. Has your community applied for FEMA grants? What’s your exerience been like? Let us know in the comments.

Read the full story on FEMA’s website.

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