Harris Commissioners to Vote on Home Buyouts

Harris County Commissioners Court will vote Tuesday a pair of home buyout programs in the aftermath of Harvey.

One program is a partnership with Houston to address pre-Harvey repetitive flooding. Houston was awarded a $10.6 million Community Development Block Grant earlier this year to buy out homes inside city limits that were affected by the 2015 floods. The city identified three areas where the Harris County Flood Control District bought out homes in the past and will provide the Flood Control District with funding to pursue buyouts on its behalf. 

The Flood Control District prefer buyouts because these homes are so deep in the floodplain that structural projects such as stormwater detentions basin or channel modifications would not sufficiently decrease their risk of flooding.

The second home buyout item up for approval Tuesday is authorization to move forward with appraisals on properties included in a pre-Harvey Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant application that the Flood Control District submitted last year. The application was recently approved by FEMA. It includes the proposed purchase of 41 properties in Harris County. The program requires that each buyout property have an active flood insurance policy.

Properties located in buyout areas where the Flood Control District has previously completed numerous other acquisitions are preferred.

Since Harvey, the Harris County Flood Control District has been accepting “Notices of Voluntary Interest” in the Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program. The Flood Control District has maintained a Home Buyout Program since 1985, funded through several federal grants, as well as local funds. The Flood Control District has not yet received federal funding for buyouts specifically related to Hurricane Harvey.

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