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St. Joseph County Gets FEMA Grant to Demolish Flood-Prone Homes

Water nearly reaches the arches under Jefferson Boulevard
Jennifer Weingart
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More than a dozen flood-prone homes in South Bend will be coming down soon thanks to a grant from FEMA.

The $2.1 million grant from FEMA will be matched partially by the county. More than $2.8 million will go to acquiring and demolishing 15 homes and properties along the Phillips and Laing ditches in the Jewell Woods neighborhood on the south side of South Bend. 

The homes sit in an area that has been flooded many times. With severe flooding in 2016 and 2018. All home-owners are participating voluntarily, and will get pre-flooding value for their properties.

Jessica Clark is the St. Joseph County Engineer. She said the County Council was instrumental in getting this grant.

“They were very concerned about the frequency and the probability of that these types of impacts would continue to occur and wanted to make sure that we would be able to give these residents some relief.”

Clark said restoring the properties might help prevent flooding in the area. 

The properties will be appraised and purchased from homeowners. Then demolition will begin. Clark said the whole process is likely to take about a year.