By Francisco Villegas |Staff Writer|
A house earthquake retrofit program based on zip codes has been expanded in California.
“Applications can be submitted in January at earthquakebracebolt.com. Homes in the following San Bernardino ZIP codes will be eligible for the program: 92404, 92405,” according to Los Angeles Times.
In order to qualify for the program, homeowners must live in the house being retrofitted.
“Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB), an earthquake retrofit program that provides a financial incentive for homes built before 1940, will be available in January 2015 in 26 California ZIP codes,” according to cslb.ca.gov.
Some students seem to be skeptical about the rules stated in EBB in order to qualify for the grants.
“A lot of house owners rent their homes and a lot of people will be excluded, which is not right, shouldn’t renters also feel safer in a retrofitted home?” said Chaffey Community College student Ernesto Perez.
Assembly Member Adrin Nazarian, secured $3 million in the 2015-2016 state budget to expand the program to more homeowners in earthquake-prone areas across California.
The program’s grants are income-tax exempt at the state level, according to San Bernardino Sun.
“Since the minimum wage is going up people should take advantage of the earthquake brace bolt program. That is a lot of financial help that people can have with construction work being very expensive,” said student Jose Alvarez.
“Retrofits of this kind can end up costing thousands more than the $3,000 grant covers, and in such cases homeowners would need to pay the difference out of their own pockets,” according to SouthernCaliforniaPublicRadio.com
Many home owners who qualified for the EBB program dropout at the end and do not perform the retrofit because the grants are not enough to cover the whole cost, continued scpr.com
Homeowners have the choice of proceeding with the work themselves or hiring a contractor to do the retrofit.
Contractors who wish to participate in the EBB program should register when registration reopens in January.
Contractors are also expected to train before being added into the list of contractors qualified for the retrofits.
Even if homeowners have to pay a contractor to work on the retrofit, it is cheaper to prepare for an earthquake than repairing a house after one.
“If the work needs to be performed, might as well put some money out of pocket to avoid further higher costs but many people have low incomes and big families which put other priorities first such as utility bills,” said Perez.
Homeowner insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage.
“We encourage all Californians to take steps to protect their homes before the next major earthquake strikes,” said insurance commissioner Dave Jones, who serves on the Board of the California Earthquake Authority.
“The program is offered by the California Residential Mitigation Program, a joint powers agency of the California Earthquake Authority and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services,” according to cslb.ca.gov