San Fernando, Granada Hills, Mission Hills and Sun Valley are among the California cities and communities where residents can now seek grants to help pay for seismic retrofitting in older homes.

The California Earthquake Authority (CEA) opened up registration on Tuesday, Jan. 23, for eligible homeowners to receive grants of up to $3,000 to help make their property more resistant to earthquake damage.

Homeowners will until Feb. 23 to apply for a grant from the Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program.

EBB is expanding eligibility this year to 17 additional California cities in high hazard areas, bringing the total to 51. The CEA has provided $6 million in funding for the grants this year, enough to support an additional 2,000 or more code-compliant seismic retrofits.

“The natural disasters of 2017 remind us of the need to be prepared for the major earthquakes that are inevitable in California,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

“Californians can protect their families by strengthening older homes, which are particularly vulnerable to earthquake damage, and by making sure they have the financial strength to rebuild with earthquake insurance.”

Homes with qualifying retrofits are eligible for discounts of up to 20 percent on CEA earthquake insurance premiums.

More than 1.2 million houses in high-hazard areas of California are particularly vulnerable to earthquakes because of the type of construction, according to the CEA. These homes are typically built before 1979, have a wood frame on a raised foundation and have a cripple wall in the crawl space under the house.

“The more houses a neighborhood has that have been retrofitted, the fewer condemned buildings will blight the neighborhood after a catastrophic earthquake and the faster life can return to normal,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian. “I strongly encourage eligible residents to apply for EBB grants and retrofit their homes.”

“EBB sees increasing momentum and awareness for seismic retrofits among homeowners, local officials and contractors,” said Janiele Maffei, chief mitigation officer of the CEA and executive director of EBB. “By helping kick-start a retrofit movement, we are working to reduce the number of Californians who lose their homes in the next catastrophic earthquake.”

In addition to offering the grants, EBB works with local building departments on the permitting process for retrofits and to grow the base of contractors trained to do code-compliant retrofits. The EBB’s searchable Contractor Directory lists almost 900 trained contractors as of the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, CEA and EBB continue to promote earthquake safety by funding development of seismic retrofit codes and plans to include a broader set of housing types. The results of that research will be released later this year.

Typical retrofits for the type of homes currently funded by EBB grants cost between $3,500 and $5,500, and involve bolting the house to its foundation and adding bracing around the perimeter. The cost is minimal compared to earthquake damage, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair. 

Beginning January 23 and through February 23, eligible homeowners can apply for retrofit funding at EarthquakeBraceBolt.com, where they can also find detailed program information, select a licensed FEMA-trained contractor and view the full list of eligible ZIP Codes.

For more information about the EBB program, please visit http://www.EarthquakeBraceBolt.com.

For more information about the California Residential Mitigation Program please visit

http://www.CaliforniaResidentialMitigationProgram.com.