By Julie Watts

OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – California is giving money to homeowners who want to retrofit their homes.

The state program, called Earthquake Brace + Bolt, pays you to make your home safer.

The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) program offers eligible California homeowners in high-risk areas up to $3,000 toward the cost of a retrofit.

In most cases, the state pays your contractor directly. The program also is open to qualified do-it-yourselfers.

Jason and Cheryl Sew Hoy live a few miles from the Hayward Fault and everyone keeps saying it’s not a case of if, but when.

But they’re feeling a lot more prepared for the big one, now that they’ve retro-fitted their home.

And the best part is California paid them to do it.

To qualify, homes must be built before 1979 and be located in an at-risk zip code, which is most of the Bay Area.

The application takes just minutes and you fill it out before even hiring a contractor.

The Soo-hoy’s retrofit was fairly standard. Their contractor bolted the home’s frame to the foundation.Water heater was strapped and braced, the basement was reinforced with plywood.  The plywood boards stop beams from sliding.

The $3,000 covered about a third of their costs.

So far, every qualified applicant who’s applied has gotten a Brace + Bolt grant.

Still Jason & Sharyl Sew Hoy say, “It certainly did feel like we won some kind of minor lottery!”

Online registration starts next week.


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