ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Flooding fears are spreading across the country as the nation watches the horrific impacts of Hurricane Harvey and the national flood insurance program that protects millions of Floridians expires in one month.
Drew Mazurkiewicz, a Shore Acres homeowner, knows firsthand the damage flooding can cause.
“This is all from water right here. Just sitting under water,” Mazurkiewicz said pointing to a sinking wood deck.
He and his roommates have also had 3 cars ruined by floodwaters.
“High tide every day floods the neighborhood,” he explained.
Mazurkiewicz is constantly fighting floodwater. So when rain is in the forecast, he worries!
“We’ve never had it come into the door yet, but it’s been close.”
Now, Shore Acres, and tens of thousands of flood prone neighborhoods across Florida could be in trouble. The National Flood Insurance Program, operated by FEMA, is set to expire at the end of September potentially leaving 1.7 million Florida homeowners, like Mazurkiewicz, without coverage.
Brandi Gabbard with the National Association of Realtors adds, “Pinellas County is ground zero, we have more homes effected by the National Flood Insurance Program than any area in the entire country.”
If the national program expires, you’re only option will be private insurers, who could increase rates, though it’s unsure how much. Experts also worry after a major storm like Harvey in Houston, private insurers could drop “at risk” homes.
“The people in Houston that need so much help, we hope that will give Congress will see that and act fast to renew this program,” Gabbard explained.
Home sales would also freeze if the National Flood Insurance Program isn’t renewed since no one would be able to close on a mortgage if the house is in a flood zone. That’s why local realtors are begging all of us to contact members of congress.
Once they return to session, they’ll have just 12 working days to renew this crucial program.