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What is the California Residential Mitigation Program? (CRMP)

Understanding CRMP: Improving Seismic Resilience for California Homes

The California Residential Mitigation Program (CRMP) was formed in 2011 to provide seismic retrofit grants, assistance and incentives to eligible homeowners in California who want to retrofit their houses to make them more resistant to earthquakes (there is no such thing as an “earthquake proof” house). CRMP was established as a Joint Powers Authority (JPA) Agreement between the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES).

CRMP’s goal is to create a stronger and more earthquake-resilient California by supporting homeowners. We offer two earthquake retrofit grant programs for homeowners in high-risk areas with vulnerable types of houses:

  • The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) grant program
  • The Earthquake Soft-Story (ESS) grant program

Both programs are designed to empower California homeowners to reduce their risk by strengthening their homes against earthquake damage. Homeowners can apply to see if their home qualifies for these programs, which are available in certain ZIP Codes.

In this article we’ll explain what the EBB and ESS grant programs are, how they work, and how you can start the process of applying for your own retrofit grant.

While our grant programs can help reduce the costs of a retrofit, not everyone is eligible. And the grant programs are only open for registration a few weeks annually. Earthquakes occur frequently in California, so to better protect your home and your family from earthquake damage, you should consider an earthquake retrofit even if you don’t qualify for a grant. And there may be other financial assistance options for you to consider.

To find out if your home needs an earthquake retrofit, visit our page on how to strengthen your house. This page explains the most common seismic retrofitting techniques, as well as how to decide if an earthquake retrofit is really worth it for you.

Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) Retrofit Grants – for Homes with Raised Foundations

Image: Front of white raised foundation house with red door

The Earthquake Brace + Bolt (EBB) retrofit grant program is designed to provide earthquake retrofits for California homes with raised foundations or crawl spaces beneath their ground floor.

These retrofits “brace and/or bolt” the house to its foundation, which makes it less vulnerable to earthquake damage by reducing the chances that it will slide or topple off its foundation during an earthquake.

Here’s a quick introduction to the EBB retrofit grant program:

  • Who qualifies for an EBB grant?
    • EBB is for homeowners whose homes that were built before 1980 on a raised foundation or with a crawl space beneath the first floor.
  • How large are EBB grants?
    • Qualifying homeowners can receive a grant of up to $3,000. Some homeowners may also qualify for a Supplemental Grant, which may cover up to 100% of the cost of an EBB retrofit.
  • How to apply for an EBB grant?
    • You must register for the EBB program when the registration period is open. For details on the EBB registration process, visit our EBB registration page.

For full details on the EBB program, including eligibility requirements, financial information, and the steps required to apply for an EBB grant, please visit our guide to the earthquake brace + bolt retrofit program, or read our blog post “What is the Earthquake Brace + Bolt Program?”

Earthquake Soft-Story (ESS) Retrofit Grants – for Homes with Living Spaces over the Garage

Image: ​​Soft story houses next to each other in a neighborhood

The Earthquake Soft-Story grant program (ESS) is designed to provide earthquake retrofits for California homes with a living space over a garage.

These retrofits bolt the foundation to the frame of the house, brace the perimeter walls of the lowest story, and strengthen the walls at the garage opening (or any other large opening) with additional plywood, steel, or other elements.

Here’s a quick introduction to the ESS retrofit grant program:

  • Who qualifies for an ESS grant?
    • ESS is for homeowners whose homes that were built before 2000 with a one-story living space over the garage, which are commonly referred to as “soft story” homes.
  • How large are ESS grants?
    • Qualifying homeowners can receive a grant of up to $13,000.
  • How to apply for an ESS grant?
    • Like the EBB program, you must register for the ESS program when the registration period is open. For details on the registration process, visit our ESS registration page.

For full details on the ESS program, including eligibility requirements, financial information, and the steps required to apply for an ESS grant, please visit our guide to the earthquake soft-story retrofit program.

How Do CRMP’s Programs Benefit California Homeowners?

Image: Contractors with hard hat looking at retrofit blue prints

CRMP’s grant programs make earthquake retrofits cheaper for homeowners. To reduce your home’s chances of being damaged by earthquakes, you should apply for a grant if you are eligible. Retrofitting your home provides several important benefits, including:

  • Reducing the chance that your home will be damaged by an earthquake.
  • Creating a safer home for your family, pets, and belongings.
  • Potentially decreasing the cost of earthquake insurance premiums.
  • Helping to build a more earthquake-resilient community.

Our retrofit programs have helped thousands of Californians make their homes less vulnerable to earthquake damage o learn about the experiences of real homeowners who used these programs, view our EBB retrofit stories page.

How to Assess Your Earthquake Vulnerability

Image: House icon that is cracked in front of a brick wall

How vulnerable is your home to earthquakes?

Find out how to assess your earthquake risk by reviewing the following resources:

  • Earthquake Probabilities – Find out how likely it is that different regions of California will experience a major earthquake in the near future.
  • Earthquake Damage – Find out how earthquakes damage homes and learn about the steps you can take to reduce potential damage.
  • Earthquake Hazards – Learn about the major hazards associated with earthquakes, and how you can protect your home and family.
  • Earthquake Fault Lines – Read about how faults cause earthquakes and find out where the major California fault lines are located.

Taking the Next Step: CRMP Is Here to Help

CRMP can help you reduce your home’s risk of earthquake damage. To start your own retrofit, view our guide to next steps in the retrofitting process.

This guide covers everything you’ll need to do to strengthen your home, including:

If you have questions about our programs or you need assistance with any parts of the process, please contact us.

What Else Can I Do to Protect My Home from Earthquakes?

Image: Emergency preparedness checklist on a clipboard and earthquake kit supplies

To help protect your house and your loved ones from earthquakes, review our articles on the 7 Most Important Earthquake Safety Tips, How to Prepare for an Earthquake, and How to Create an Earthquake Emergency Kit.

Remember that earthquake preparedness helps protect property and save lives, and that the best time to get ready for the next big earthquake is before the ground begins to shake!

Visit our Seismic Strong Blog for more tips, advice and information about earthquakes.