Letter: Homeowner’s hands tied by flood zone

Regarding “FEMA: Law ties hands on new rates”: Seventeen years ago, nine years before the catastrophic invasion of Hurricane Katrina, I purchased a home. All I wanted was a quiet and safe place to live, learn and grow as a family. My home was not deemed to be located in a flood area at that time and I was not obligated to purchase flood insurance. Shortly after the “invasion” came the declaration of my home now being in a flood zone; in 17 years my house has never flooded. Next came the proverbial “flood hazard insurance” and the mandate to not only purchase the flood insurance but to adhere to the changes and the increases without the “freedom” of being able to say “I choose to opt out, I’ll weather the storm and take my chances”.

Now FEMA wants another major increase of more than 10%. I think this is ridiculous. I feel that someone somewhere has decided to take this course of action just because they know our hands are tied. What about the millions of federal dollars dedicated to Mississippi (and possibly others) which were allocated for Katrina relief and recovery that has not been spent after 8 years? Whose hands need to be untied to retrieve those funds? Are they being allowed to invest those monies and make millions without being held accountable to FEMA, or are those funds lying in a nomad account eking about here and there and everywhere, or maybe they’re in a dormant account for safe keeping to get past some deadlines and/or statues of limitation?

Whatever the correct answer is, it does not hold true to the funds that I must submit and be accountable for protection to live in a non-flooding flood zoned area. During the whole Katrina episode many mistakes were made (in the beginning no help; in the end going overboard with help). My property received major destruction from Hurricane Gustav, and I didn’t receive any assistance from FEMA. I have also endured minor damages from some of the other hurricanes that have hit our area in this 8-year span, but at no time did I ever have a problem with flooding. Call it what you want, it was a natural disaster. Do the homeowners who live in areas that can be affected by an earthquake pay “earthquake insurance”, or those near a volcano pay “volcanic insurance”? I’d rather give up my “American Dream” of owning a home and be “bound for and boxed into” a condominium or an apartment before I pay one more extra penny to FEMA.

Denise Chustz

Receptionist/Homeowner

Baton Rouge