VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. -- A number of homeowners could soon see flooding relief, thanks to a federal grant that's passed the first step of approval to help lift their homes.

  • Some homes in unincorporated Volusia continually flood
  • A few have qualified for a federal grant to raise them higher
  • The ones that qualified flooded during storms in 2004, 2009, 2017

But there are many more steps to go before getting that help this hurricane season.

Cindi Patterson recalled Hurricane Irma last year.

"I started crying. We stood in the kitchen (and) we can see the fish swimming over our feet," Patterson said. "Everything was completely under water, and it looked like the house was just in the middle of the ocean."

But relief may come soon for her and six other homeowners in unincorporated Volusia County from Ormond Beach to Edgewater.

The homeowners applied for a federal grant, and now, $2 million from the Hazard Mitigation Grant program will help take their homes to the next level -- literally.

Cindi Patterson's home flooded during hurricanes in 2004, 2009 and 2017. Getting approved for the federal grant "is like winning the lottery to us," she says. (Brittany Jones, staff)

The federal government hopes to eliminate or reduce the number of floods claims filed by helping out the homeowners.

Those who qualified were hit by hurricanes from 2004, 2009 -- and then Irma.

"Nobody deserves to live like this. We all need relief," Patterson said.

After the homes are done, they'll have new beams and columns to lift them up. 

Some of homes on the Pattersons' street already sit high, but others -- low-lying homes such as the Pattersons' -- will have to be raised anywhere from 8 to 15 feet or higher off the ground.

"We are really looking forward to getting it done," Patterson said. "We know that we're going to have to move out of the house for several months, but that something that we're willing to do just to have it raised so we can be safe."

The funding averages out a little more than $300,000 per home. Homeowners have to pay 25 percent of the project's cost.

"It was a real concern for us, so to hear that it's been approved is like winning the lottery to us," Patterson said.

After the County Council approved the measure, the Florida Division of Emergency Management will review it next, and then FEMA will have the final decision. The county emergency management planner said if it's approved, work could start in three to six months for the homeowners.