Federal program to pay for raising homes to start in Mastic Beach

Over 4,400 homes could be eligible to participate once rolled out


About 50 homeowners in Mastic Beach and Babylon will be selected to take part in a test of an Army Corps of Engineers program to elevate homes in flood-prone areas of the South Shore.

As many as 4,400 homes stretching from Fire Island to Montauk Point could be eligible to participate once the program is fully rolled out, officials said at a press conference in Mastic Beach on Thursday.

The program is part of a $2.4 billion federal government effort called FIMP to reduce flood risk for residents along 83 miles of coastline from Fire Island Inlet to Montauk Point.
“Potentially, this is a lifeline—I should say, a lifeboat—which will enable some residents to be able to stay in their homes, not only because of flooding but because of the rapidly escalating cost of flood insurance premiums, which are pegged to go into the stratosphere in the near future,” Brookhaven Town supervisor Dan Panico said.

“It’s a beautiful area and we want to keep people here,” said Sixth District Council member Karen Dunne Kesnig, who represents the area. “But in order to do so, we have to keep them safe.”

The press conference was held on Riviera Drive in Mastic Beach, with Sheeps Pen Creek, Narrows Bay and Smith Point County Park in the background.

The neighborhood floods about once a month, and sometimes as often as once a week, said Janice Schaefer, who has lived here since 1970 in a house her husband’s grandfather built in 1932.

Schaefer and her husband had their house raised about eight years before Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

“The tides were getting harder and we needed to do something,” she said.

The Army Corps of Engineers will hire the contractors to do the work and will pay for the cost of elevating the home. Participation in the program is voluntary.

Frank Fugarino, president of the Pattersquash Creek Civic Association, said the program is something his neighbors in Mastic Beach have sought for a long time. But Fugarino is concerned that unless the government also picks up relocation costs to pay for a place to live for people while their homes are being raised, many won’t be able to participate.
“They might not be able to afford this without relocation assistance,” Fugarino said.

Senate majority leader Charles Schumer, of New York, introduced a relocation assistance bill that passed the Senate two years ago, but hasn’t yet passed in the House of Representatives.

Army Corps of Engineers representatives said they plan to hold meetings for the public to discuss the program. They expect that interested homeowners will be able to apply online starting sometime shortly after July. They expect construction to begin in late 2025 or early 2026.

In the meantime, people can find information on the Town of Brookhaven website at brookhavenny.gov/FIMP, which includes a map of eligible homes and information for contractors who want to apply to participate in the program.


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