The head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development joined Connecticut lawmakers to visit a home affected by the crumbling foundation epidemic.
Monday, Secretary Ben Carson, Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, Rep. Joe Courtney and Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman visited the 30-year-old home of Maggie and Vincent Perracchio in Willington.
“The solutions lie in all of us working together at the local, city state level," Carson said. "Working together to resolve this issue and working with everybody. Including the private sector, insurance companies, everybody.”
The Perracchio's home has severe cracks in its foundation due to it being made with concrete comprised of the mineral pyrrhotite. Pyrrhotite deteriorates when exposed to oxygen and water.
In central and eastern Connecticut, homeowners in dozens of towns are dealing with crumbling foundations.
Homeowners have been faced with a huge financial dilemma if their insurance carriers won't cover the repairs.
Murphy, Blumenthal, Courtney and Rep. John Larson have been working with the Trump administration to try to help homeowners.
During a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting last month, Murphy invited Carson to visit Connecticut to see the damage and hear firsthand from homeowners.
From the outside, you can't see the problem, unless you look closely at the foundation. The concrete is disintegrating and getting worse every day.
"We had some minor hairline cracks here and there that we didn't pay attention to. Then we started to notice the cracks were getting deeper and broader," said Maggie Perracchio, a homeowner.
All the stone quarried to make the concrete for the foundation came from the same site. The site contained a mineral called pyrrhotite.
Only recently has the mineral started to dissolve the concrete.
The contractor, Don Childree has re-settled 56 houses, whose foundations failed.
"This house here, it is actually ripping it apart at the seams," said Childree.
The walls are now compromised and pulling apart. To replace the foundations and make the problem go away could cost homeowners a quarter million dollars each.
"Our insurance company has denied our claim. We actually presented a suit to them which was thrown own," said Perracchio.
Senators Murphy and Blumenthal are sponsoring two bills that would provide $200 million in aid over 5 years to homeowners affected.
"This is a crisis here in Connecticut and we need help," said Murphy.
Meanwhile, CT lawmakers passed legislation this year generating $10 million in aid over 10 years, adding a $12 annual surcharge to the insurance policies of every Connecticut homeowner.
"The solutions lie in all of us being able to work together," said Carson.
The President of the Insurance Association, Eric George, said in a statement, "The insurance industry is sympathetic to the plight of homeowners. Unfortunately, homeowners insurance has never covered defective products and does not cover crumbling foundations. We are encouraged that Sec. Carson has come to CT to view the conditions of these homes and help craft a solution."
Carson said he would bring the state's concerns to President Trump and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
For more on the state's crumbling foundation problem, here's more from the Connecticut Department of Housing.
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