House Elevation Project

This project aims to elevate homes on Tybee Island out of the flood hazard zone.

Project Lead: George Shaw, The City of Tybee Island,
Partners: FEMA, GEMA
Funding: $1,548,318.00

Project Summary: Tybee Island has submitted two Hazard Mitigation Grant Program applications through FEMA for home elevations. Both were related to the damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017. The first application was for homeowners of 12 repetitive loss homes. The second application sought funding for homeowners in the flood zone who were interested in having their homes elevated above the flood hazard. The first application was awarded in August of 2018 and is going through the closeout process now. For the second grant, FEMA categorized homes as historic or non-historic. The historic homes were awarded funding in August 2022, and construction has just begun.
The goal of these grants is to elevate homes out of the flood hazard area. While on Tybee Island, although homes must only be elevated at least one foot above base flood elevation, most folks will lift the homes higher so that they may park beneath the homes. The process involves emptying the homes of all contents, running steel beams either through or beneath the home, and slowing lifting using multiple hydraulic jacks. Once the home is lifted, new foundation piers are built. In some cases, a new floor structure is built, and then the home is lowered back down and attached to the new foundation.

While many folks are interested in the program at the beginning the final participation is limited by a number of factors. It is an 85% grant program meaning that the homeowners are responsible for 15% of the cost plus any cost overruns. As the cost estimates were done in 2018, it is very likely that there will be cost overruns. The homeowners must empty the home and find a place to store their belongings as well as find another place to live for the duration of the construction. Although many people opt out of the program for those reasons, homeowners that have their homes elevated get the benefit of greatly reduced flood insurance plus the peace of mind that it is unlikely that their homes will ever flood again.

Scroll to Top