Only a third of landslide victims qualify for federal aid

Colorado Springs sends assistance application to state Friday

Federal Assistance Possible for 26 of 79 Landslide Victims

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Colorado Springs officials have updated how a series of landslides in the past year have affected dozens of residents with damage to their homes.

According to a release issued Friday, five homeowners dropped out of a buyout program, reducing the number of total applicants from 84 to 79.

However, only around a third --26 homeowners -- have significant structural damage that qualifies them for inclusion in the program, and were included in the city's application to the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

The remaining applicants had no damage or damage caused by soil issues not related to landslides.

City officials insist that record rainfall last spring is the primary factor in the landslides that developed in five areas of town.

But many victims blame the city for knowing landslide risks were apparent for at least 40 years, yet still allowed homes to be built in landslide zones.

Bruce Emerson lives near a landslide in the Rockrimmon area and said the walls of his basement shifted, and he's unhappy to be excluded from the buyout program.

"One of the people I had come in, gave me an estimate of $30,000 to have that fixed," he said.  "But when the city came out here about a month ago, they told me they were not going to recommend me for FEMA."

The city sent an application to the state because the state distributes any funds allocated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

However, because the estimated damage from landslides is around $13 million, and only $3 million statewide is believed to be available, it's unclear how much Colorado Springs will receive and how many victims will be helped.

The city hopes for a response from the state later this year.

Victims will be notified in writing by the city as to whether they qualify for the program.

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