CNT’s RainReady Service to Help Chicago Flood Victims Recover from the 2013 Storm

by Marcella Bondie Keenan

The Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT®) has been contracted through the City of Chicago’s Residential Flood Assistance Program to provide streamlined flood damage repair and prevention for 70 homes victimized by the April 2013 flooding that crippled parts of Chicago’s south and west sides.

Through CNT’s RainReady Home service, each eligible homeowner will receive a free home inspection to identify opportunities for flood repair and prevention. The RainReady Home team will then make tailored recommendations for the building and yard, solicit bids from qualified contractors, and perform construction oversight to ensure that the repairs and upgrades are performed correctly. RainReady Home will guide residents through the whole process and offer strategies that have multiple benefits. For example, in addition to repairing flood damage, clients may benefit from smart landscaping solutions which:

  • Help keep water in the yard so it doesn’t end up in the basement
  • Make housing more affordable by lowering flood damage costs
  • Reduce stress on the sewer system, making it less likely that the neighborhood will flood during a storm

RainReady Home may also recommend tailored building upgrades – like foundation crack sealing, a backwater valve, or downspout disconnection – to help prevent future flooding.

Dejan and Marcela Bajic at their RainReady home.

Dejan and Marcela Bajic at their RainReady home.

The homes selected for this service have been identified as having serious damage as a result of the flooding in April 2013, when an estimated 5.5 inches of rain fell on Chicago in a two-day period, the equivalent of a “10-year storm.” The storm wreaked extensive damage – basements were flooded, homes damaged, and sewers overflowed. The storm also caused a backflow of water from the Chicago River into Lake Michigan.

The April 2013 storm was yet another example of urban flooding occurring outside of mapped floodplains. And Cook County was among dozens of counties in Illinois that were declared federal disaster areas.

The federal government awarded over $60 million in grant funds to help Chicago’s disaster recovery efforts after the April 2013 floods. CNT is proud serve as a Delegate Agency for the City of Chicago’s federally funded Residential Flood Assistance Program. The RainReady Home team has years of professional experience and expertise in environmental assessment, landscape architecture, engineering, and construction management.

CNT’s Residential Flood Assistance Program clients have been assigned by the City of Chicago. The clients were identified because they previously filed a claim for disaster relief in 2013 but may be eligible for further assistance.

The Residential Flood Assistance Program clients are scattered throughout Chicago . Most live in communities where more than 30% of residents are under the federal poverty line. These communities are often very vulnerable to repeated flooding, and we look forward to providing solutions that will help break this cycle.

RainReady services are designed to help communities find solutions to too much or too little water. Drawing on CNT’s long history of grassroots action combined with sophisticated technical innovation, CNT’s RainReady program works with communities and individuals to mitigate flooding on both private and public property.

For more information about how CNT’s RainReady program can serve your community, please contact Harriet Festing.