Crumbling Foundation Proposals Emerge in Washington

NBC Connecticut

Connecticut’s U.S. senators have been joined by Massachusetts’ U.S. senators in their efforts to combat the crisis that has led to hundreds, and potentially thousands of homes crumbling to the ground.

U.S. Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal have proposed separate bills, but have signed on to each as a co-sponsor, aimed at having a pair of federal agencies provide assistance to homeowners.

Blumenthal’s measure calls for FEMA to pay $20 million annually for five years to affected homeowners, while Murphy’s calls for the same from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Both of Massachusetts’ U.S. senators, Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, both Democrats, have signed on co-sponsors, as their state has been impacted by the crisis as well.

In a statement, Murphy said, “I’ve visited the homes of Connecticut families with crumbling foundations, and I’ve seen firsthand the stress and financial burden this is causing them. While we’ve been successful in getting Congress to take some action, it’s not enough.”

“These common-sense steps will help alleviate the pain of homeowners and businesses across Connecticut repairing and rebuilding crumbling foundations—a continuing financial and emotional nightmare,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

Mike Maglaras, who is in charge of the Connecticut Captive Insurance Company, said if Connecticut were to receive $50 million, half of either bill’s proposal, that could pay for repairs for about 300 homes, on average.

The funding is in addition to the bonding approved by the state last year, and the $12 annual surcharge on all homeowners’ insurance policies.

Tim Heim, one of the most vocal homeowners on the issue, said he’s happy that crumbling foundations has received more broad attention in Congress and in Washington.

“It gives us strength. Massachusetts cannot be forgotten. The issue was a Connecticut issue that crossed state lines and it effects the good hardworking people of not only Connecticut, but Massachusetts as well,” he said.

Heim even had HUD Secretary Ben Carson in his home, and says the issue should not be viewed through a political lens.

“It’s not a partisan issue and it’s a lot of people from both sides working on this and we’re going to continue to keep fighting and stay optimistic.”

Murphy and Blumenthal proposed similar legislation last year but they never received final votes for passage.