Harris County Seeks Millions in Funding to Buy Out 104 Flood-Prone Homes

Wednesday, September thirteen, 2017 at 7 a.m.

Richmond near 610 on the morning of August 27, in the shadow of Williams Tower.

Richmond close to 610 on the morning of August 27, within the shadow of Williams Tower.

Photograph by Chris Grey

Harris County Commissioners Courtroom voted unanimously Tuesday to use for hundreds of thousands in funding permitting the county to purchase out greater than one hundred houses in Houston and Harris County that repeatedly flood.

The commissioners’ approval provides the Harris County Flood Management District the inexperienced mild to submit an software to the state asking for greater than $17 million in FEMA grant cash — funneled by means of the Texas Water Improvement Board — to purchase 104 houses. Harris County would contribute roughly $three million in further funding. The prices cowl demolishing and buying the houses, aiding households in relocating to larger floor and restoring the land so it may be used for stormwater storage.

The 104 houses — sixty three in Harris County, 39 in Houston, one in Humble and one in La Porte — are all in one hundred-yr floodplains and have flooded repeatedly, main the Harris County Flood Management District to conclude there’s actually no different solution to cease the houses from flooding aside from by demolishing them for good. In its software submitted to the water improvement board and FEMA, the houses are described as being “hopelessly deep” within the floodplains. (Officers declined to determine the places of the houses or neighborhoods, saying the knowledge was delicate, however offered a map displaying places of greater than three,000 buyouts up to now.)

“Channel enhancements, detention basins and no motion have been all thought-about,” officers wrote. “Channel enhancements and detention basins wouldn’t be efficient since these areas are so deep inside the mapped floodplain. No motion would permit the households to proceed to be in hurt’s method.”

Regardless of coming proper on the heels of Hurricane Harvey’s disastrous flooding, the flood management district had already deliberate to use for buyout funds for this batch of houses earlier than Harvey hit — so householders who have been banking on a buyout after Harvey should not fret, because the county is taking purposes now. It has to date acquired greater than a thousand purposes by means of its web site alone, spokeswoman Karen Hastings stated.

Russ Poppe, government director of the flood management district, stated that given the large quantity of curiosity in buyouts following Harvey, the district is working with FEMA to develop an expedited buyout program in order that officers do not have to attend one other yr to submit purposes for an additional batch. Poppe stated greater than 9 months might move between when commissioners approve the appliance and when householders even get the supply from the county for the buyout.

“We’re hoping for a particular circumstance in working with FEMA, as a result of the grant purposes made at the moment at Commissioners Courtroom are simply that: They’re purposes. They nonetheless need to be accepted and undergo a course of with the state and with FEMA, and…

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