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Are Home Buyouts Threatening Affordable Housing In Houston?

New report analyzes flood mitigation measures

Charlie Riedel/AP
Homes are surrounded by water from the flooded Brazos River in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Friday, Sept. 1, 2017, in Freeport, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Home buyouts have long been in the toolbox of the Harris County Flood Control District and more have been approved after Hurricane Harvey.

This is to remove houses from the floodplains in case of another flooding event.

But Christof Spieler, project manager for the Greater Houston Flood Mitigation Consortium, said there are several issues with home buyouts as they are handled in Greater Houston.

One issue is the impact on affordable housing.

"A lot of our affordable housing is in floodplains," Spieler said on Houston Matters. "If you buy that, if you tear all of that down, where will those residents live and what happens to the overall affordable housing supply?"

He said home buyouts should be addressed alongside a housing plan.

The Harris County Flood Control District has applied for grants to buy out up to 1,100 properties, according to an agency spokesperson.

So far, Harris County has purchased 27 structures as part of its home buyout program after Harvey.

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