October 21, 2011 — Lt. Governor Phil Scott and Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Lawrence Miller, who have been leading a task force to organize coordinated and affordable removal of flood-damaged mobile homes from mobile home parks, announced a work plan for that project, as well as some unexpected good news: thanks to successful fundraising, the cost to each individual homeowner will be less than anticipated.
When the group initially announced the program in September, the anticipated cost to each homeowner who enrolled was $1,500 – a substantial savings over the typical removal cost, which ranged from $3,500-$4,500 for older homes. The group was able to achieve these savings by creating “economies of scale” whereby demolition contractors would work on several homes at the same location at the same time. Thanks to an outpouring of donations after that announcement, the task force is now able to offer a $1,500 credit to each homeowner – making the removal service essentially free.
“With the large donations that have come in from groups like Aubuchon Hardware, the Argosy Foundation and Ben and Jerry’s, and with the help of the Vermont Community Foundation to raise yet more funds, we’re at a point where we’re confident announcing that the program will, in fact, come at no cost to mobile home owners,” said Secretary Miller, who worked closely with VCF on fundraising efforts.
Lt. Governor Scott, who has worked with the Associated General Contractors of Vermont to organize contractor teams, added that the task force is now ready to begin demolition at Weston’s Mobile Home Park in Berlin, which had the highest number of substantially damaged mobile homes after Irene. Approximately 70 homes at Weston’s were damaged in the flood, and the task force believes about a dozen of those homeowners will take advantage of this removal program.
For residents of other flooded mobile home parks, information packets will be mailed out early next week, and homeowners will have until November 15 to register for the program. People can register or get more information by calling the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity at (802) 660-3455, ext. 204.
Demolition teams will be mobilized for each of those parks as soon as all interested homeowners have completed the required paperwork and the FEMA application process.