(KRON) — If you own property in Berkeley, parts of it could be eligible for up to $13,000 in retrofit grants for living spaces above a garage.
This feature used to be an easy way to add square footage to a home, but living spaces built above a garage—or soft stories—before the year 2000 are especially prone to collapsing during an earthquake. Retrofitting eligible spaces can help with that.
In order to qualify for retrofit grants, the property must be:
- Built prior to 2000
- Have one floor of living space above a garage
- Located in certain zip codes
Retrofitting a soft story includes strengthening the walls of the garage near the door or any other large opening, bracing the perimeter walls and bolting the house to its foundation.
The grants can cover up to 75 percent of the cost of the retrofit. Grant money comes from the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program.
Apply for a retrofit grant by May 31 online to enter the lottery.
For more information on how a retrofit grant works, visit the city of Berkeley online.