Below is the FEMA guidance for using your Individual Assistance from FEMA to cover repairs to your access road (or driveway) to bring it back to pre-storm conditions, if you lost safe access due to the storms.    Be aware, as far as CBCC has been able to ascertain,  that for this assistance,  this needs to be your primary residence, and it will go toward your total possible assistance  amount of $33,300 for all real estate repairs, and if you received an insurance settlement of more than that…. you aren’t eligible.   So only a small portion of property owners are likely to be eligible.

Here are the “rules”:

FEMA may provide financial assistance to repair privately-owned access routes (i.e., driveways, roads, or bridges) damaged as a result of a Presidentially-declared disaster. Assistance for privately-owned access routes is intended to restore access to the owner’s primary residence. In instances where multiple households share a privately-owned access route, assistance is shared between applicants, requiring additional coordination and documentation between FEMA and the applicants.

A.    Conditions of Eligibility

In addition to meeting general conditions of eligibility (see Chapter 2: IHP Eligibility), the following conditions must be met to receive Home Repair Assistance for privately-owned access routes:

    • A FEMA inspection determines repairs are necessary to provide drivable access to the primary residence.
    • The applicant is responsible (or shares responsibility with other homeowners) for maintaining the privately-owned access route to their primary residence.
    • The privately-owned access route is the only access to the applicant’s primary residence OR repair or replacement of a secondary route is necessary for practical use (e.g., it is impossible to access the residence without a bridge or road) OR the safety of the occupants or the residence would be adversely affected because state, local, territorial, or tribal government emergency equipment could not reach the residence.
    • If multiple households share the access route, FEMA also requires:
      • Written consent from all applicants as pertains to the shared privately-owned access route.
      • A declarative statement affirming any assistance FEMA provides will be used to make repairs to the access route and the applicant understands they are responsible for securing permits and complying with local codes and ordinances.
      • The applicants do not have an established Homeowner’s Association or Covenant responsible for repair of the access route, or the established Homeowner’s Association or Covenant is unable to receive assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) or private insurance to repair the access route.

B.    Limitations and Exclusions

    • FEMA will provide other types of IHP Assistance before considering providing Repair Assistance for an applicant’s private access route.
      • For eligible applicants who have sole responsibility to repair the access route to their home, FEMA will provide Rental Assistance, then consider eligibility for Repair Assistance for an applicant’s private access route.
      • For eligible applicants who share responsibility with other eligible applicants to repair the access route, FEMA will provide Rental Assistance, Home Repair Assistance for items that do not affect the access route, Other Needs Assistance, then consider eligibility for Repair Assistance for an applicant’s private access route.
    • The Repair Assistance award amount is based on repair items (e.g., decking, guardrails, and handrails) that are of average quality, size, and capacity.
      • Repair awards will not include improvements to the access route’s pre-disaster condition unless improvements are required by current state, local, territorial, and/or tribal government building codes or ordinances.
      • An applicant with access and functional needs that requires access for a particular vehicle may be approved for additional funds to improve the access if required for safe passage.
    • FEMA will verify whether the state, local, territorial, or tribal government has taken or plans to take any emergency actions to repair the route to provide access for emergency service providers or to remove immediate threats to public health and safety.
    • Eligible activities for the repair of privately-owned access routes are subject to federal Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation (EHP) compliance review requirements.72 FEMA will conduct and appropriately document the results of this review prior to providing assistance for the repair activity.
      • Eligible applicants are responsible for complying with any conditions developed as a result of the EHP compliance review process and for obtaining any applicable federal, state, local, territorial, and tribal government permits.
    • If multiple families share an access route, individuals who do not apply or do not meet all eligibility requirements will not receive assistance and will not be considered when determining the amount an eligible applicant will receive.

And some advice directly from a FEMA supervisor:

FEMA’s Individual Assistance program can assist applicants with private access roads in some situations.

This is usually done before repairs are made, when affected individuals or groups of individuals can’t access their property and get an estimate from a construction company to repair the damaged road.

If it’s a group of individuals, they then split the amount between them.  That being said, the FEMA supervisor did not know of any reason why it couldn’t be done as a reimbursement in the same way.

HOW TO APPLY:

Apply individually by updating your Individual Assistance application at www.disasterassistance.gov if they have already registered. Upload a letter of explanation that you are adding private road damage to your application.

Submit the estimate/invoice along with a written statement explaining your request. Here is a template letter that you (and your neighbors who share this roadway) can use: FEMA Road Assistance Letter – Template

Make sure to indicate how many of you will be applying individually for the same road… for example “I am one of 15 homes on this road requesting assistance…” and include the estimate or invoice for the amount paid in total.  The amount will be split between however many request assistance… for example, if it cost $50,000 to repair the road and 15 people apply, that’s $3,333 each.  

NOTE: it does not seem to matter if everyone with property on the road is part of the request; it seems to be limited to those who are eligible and apply.

Official FEMA document: Private Road Guidance