Progress reported in ‘Safe Room’ program

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 26, 2006

Lincoln County residents are beginning to reap the benefits of afederal and state program to provide family sanctuaries duringfierce storms.

Clifford Galey, Lincoln County emergency management director,said he received his first form validating the completion of astorm shelter in Lincoln County under the “Safe Room” program lastweek.

Galey said he mailed out more than 70 letters to residents inSeptember notifying them they had been accepted forparticipation.

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Once accepted, applicants were required to return a form to theMississippi Emergency Management Agency acknowledging they agreedwith the requirements of the program, he said. That deadline haspassed.

“Those accepted also need to send in the paperwork when it’sdone to get reimbursement,” Galey said.

Under the program, residents are required to pay for shelterconstruction first and then seek reimbursement for their expenses.The paperwork Galey received last week is the first from a residentseeking that reimbursement, he said.

The program is designed to reimburse up to 75 percent ofeligible costs to property owners for the construction of stormshelters.

More than 100 Lincoln County residents applied for the program,Galey said. However, not all of the applicants received “priorityone” status, which signifies the property was damaged duringHurricane Katrina.

Residents given priority two status will only benefit if moneyremains after the first round of priority one funding, he said.