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Grant to help pay for homes affected in Fort Washington slope failure

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. - Maryland lawmakers and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker's office announced Thursday that a $2,017,125 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will help to acquire six homes that were threatened by a severe slope failure in Fort Washington.

According to a joint press release, the funding will be used for the acquisition, demolition, and re-grading of the properties along Piscataway Drive and two properties on Kris Ran Court.

Tracy Rookard owns one of the six homes and says she was thrilled after learning she will be paid fair market value for it.

Rookard told FOX 5, "The news is so welcome!"

She continued, "I have not always appreciated our elected officials and what not, but I can tell you they definitely stepped up to the plate here."

She was particularly appreciative of Nicholas A. Majett, Acting Chief Administrative Officer for Prince George's County, and his Special Assistant Linda Turner. The two worked very closely with the Save Piscataway Hills group organized by neighbors.

It has been seven months of uncertainty for the residents. This past May, heavy rains caused the ground, which is laced with clay, to buckle. Trees tumbled, pavement cracked and water and sewer lines broke.

Twenty-two homes on the lower part of Piscataway Drive were also impacted by the unstable ground and loss of utilities. The county says it has found funding to make repairs so those occupants can keep their homes. They will be temporarily displaced for four to six months once the work begins.

Congressman Steny Hoyer tells FOX 5, "These $2 million coupled with state and county resources will give the help these homeowners need. I'm very pleased."