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What is the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program (EBB)?

Introduction to the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program

In California, earthquakes are a real and inevitable threat, but earthquake damage can be prevented. The Earthquake Brace + Bolt program (EBB) was created to help California homeowners strengthen their homes to help protect them from earthquake damage.

EBB offers expert guidance and financial support that can be used to reinforce houses and make them more resilient to earthquake damage. The EBB program provides up to $3,000 in grant money to eligible homeowners. This money must be used on a residential seismic retrofit, called a “Brace + Bolt Retrofit.” These retrofits are especially helpful for older homes built before 1980, which are at greater risk for earthquake damage. It’s important to remember that a seismic retrofit does not guarantee that your home won’t be damaged in an earthquake, but it does make your home more resilient and can help reduce the cost of repairs after a major quake.

This post explains the EBB retrofit program, including what it is, what it does, how to find out if you qualify for an EBB grant, and how to apply for one.

EBB Background and How it Started

The Earthquake Brace + Bolt program (EBB) was launched in 2013 by the California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP), a Joint Powers Authority between the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). The program was designed to help make seismic retrofits more affordable for CA homeowners.

Program Overview and Objectives

EBB is all about helping homeowners strengthen their homes to help keep them safe from earthquake damage and help prevent the need for expensive repairs.

EBB does this by providing eligible homeowners with up to $3,000 in grant funds that are to be used on a “building-code compliant” Brace + Bolt retrofit.

Image: Before and after of a Brace + Bolt retrofit

Brace + Bolt retrofits do two things:

  1. Brace a home’s crawl space (also called a cripple wall), if it has one, which helps prevent the house from collapsing because of earthquake hazards.
  2. Bolt a home’s foundation to the frame of the house, which can help keep the house from sliding off its foundation during an earthquake.

Since its creation, EBB has provided retrofit grant money to more than 22,000 homeowners throughout the state, helping prevent earthquake damage to their houses. You may be able to qualify for an EBB grant too!

Do I Qualify for an EBB Retrofit? What are the Eligibility Requirements for an EBB Grant?

To qualify for an EBB retrofit, you must meet certain eligibility requirements. You might be eligible for an EBB retrofit grant if your home:

  • Is located within program-eligible ZIP Codes;
  • Was built before 1980;
  • Has a raised foundation;
  • Sits on level ground or a low slope; and
  • Has wood-framed cripple walls or a stem wall (when the first floor is supported directly on the foundation) in the crawl space under the first floor.

Visit the EBB eligibility requirements page to see if you qualify for a grant.

How to Register for CA Earthquake Brace + Bolt

Image: Checklist to register for EBB

If your home meets the above eligibility criteria, you can easily apply for the EBB grant program online. However, registration is only open for a limited time each year. To receive an email alert when the next registration period opens, sign up for Earthquake Brace + Bolt updates.

To apply for a grant when registration is open, visit our Registration page and complete the questions. Include your contact information and submit the form before the deadline. You will be notified of your approval status within a few weeks.

For additional details on applications and registration, check out EBB’s page on How the Registration Process Works.

The EBB program is an excellent way to help protect your home and family from earthquake damage. This program is especially important for older houses, which were not built according to modern seismic codes. If you are a California homeowner, take the time to learn about the program and apply for the grant when registration opens.

Supplemental Grants for Low-Income Homeowners

Image: Family leaning on fence outdoors

In addition to the standard $3,000 grant, EBB also offers additional funding for income-eligible homeowners. These funds must be used for a Brace + Bolt retrofit and may be used to cover up to 100% of the costs of an eligible retrofit.
To qualify for the Supplemental Grant, you must:

  • Meet the EBB qualification requirements, and be accepted into the Brace + Bolt program, and
  • Verify that your household annual income is $87,360 or lower.

Supplemental Grants are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, and will be provided to eligible applicants until grant funds run out. These grants are only available for code-compliant retrofits, and homeowners may need to pay income tax on the money they receive.

For full details, please visit the EBB’s page on Supplemental Brace + Bolt Grants.

Benefits of Participating in the EBB Program

The EBB program offers an excellent opportunity to strengthen your home and help protect your family from earthquake damage. But that’s not the only reason to participate! Benefits of enrolling in the EBB program may include:

If you don’t qualify for an EBB grant, don’t despair! Read about other financial assistance programs for earthquake retrofits.

Strengthen Your Home with Earthquake Brace + Bolt

Image: two side by side houses, shown after the magnitude 6.0 2014 American Canyon (South Napa) earthquake, illustrate the benefit of a seismic retrofit—as one had been strengthened and one had not.

The Earthquake Brace + Bolt program aims to help California homeowners lessen the potential for earthquake damage.

By bolting your home to its foundation and bracing crawl spaces or cripple walls, you can strengthen your home and reduce the risk of your house sliding or toppling during an earthquake. Brace + Bolt retrofits helps to increase your safety and may also help lower your insurance costs or possibly increase your property value.

What Else Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family from Earthquakes?

To protect your home from earthquake damage, create an earthquake preparedness plan.

View the California earthquake probability map to find out where active faults are in your area, read about the 7 essential earthquake safety tips, and make an earthquake emergency kit.

Remember that earthquake preparedness saves lives, and that the best time to prepare for an earthquake is well before the ground starts to shake!

Read our other blogs for tips, advice and more information about earthquakes.