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Storm Shelter Grant Money Available For Tarrant Co. Residents

TARRANT COUNTY (CBSDFW.COM) - With devastating storms across the country and here in North Texas, the storm shelter business has been busy. And one of the best-kept secrets in town is for Tarrant County residents.

A little known rebate program offers accepted applicants money for the cost of a shelter. "It will pay 50-percent of a purchase, up to $3,000," explained Tarrant County Emergency Management Coordinator Melissa Patterson.

The government rebate program is possible thanks to a $540,000 grant from FEMA, but funds are limited. "We actually have until next April to utilize the funds," said Patterson. "And at a maximum of $3,000 each we're looking at probably 150 residences."

Tarrant County officials say applicants have to meet two requirements. "You can't live in a flood plain and your city, if you're in a city, it must have a hazard mitigation plan."

A 'hazard mitigation plan' must provide safety for residents and reduce the probability of potential hazards in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe.

The contractor chosen to install the shelter must also be certified by one of two certifications – either the National Storm Shelter Association or the American Tornado Shelter Association.

According to Patterson, shelters can cost from as little as $4,000 to as much as $16,000.

Currently some 100 people have already applied for the grant and the county is expecting more after the recent storms. But officials say if they run out of money the county can re-apply for more.

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