Hurricane Harvey

Harris County Announces First Allocation Of FEMA Funds For Post-Harvey Buyouts

The county will buy out approximately 169 homes that were substantially damaged

The red dots on the map show the location of the homes that the Harris County Flood Control District will buyout using an initial allocation of $25.6 million in federal funding.

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFDC) informed Monday it will receive a first allocation of $25.6 million in federal funding to support buyouts of approximately 169 homes that suffered substantial damage because of Hurricane Harvey and, in some cases, due to other severe weather events.

The HCFCD conducts buyouts to reduce flood damages in areas that are located deep in the floodplain where structural projects to reduce flooding aren’t cost effective or beneficial.

The HCFCD detailed the funds will come from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, which is known by the acronym HMGP, in response to the Hurricane Harvey disaster declaration.

Harris County will have to contribute $8.6 million as local matching funds and, as part of the process, the Commissioners Court will have to approve accepting the grant allotment and the local matching funds. According to the HCFCD, that could happen during the meeting the Commissioners Court will hold on June 12.

Once the Commissioners Court approves the funding, the time until closing could take from four weeks to four months, depending on the needs of the property owner.

The HCFCD has requested a total of approximately $163.5 million for buyouts and the HCFCD noted in a news release that “additional funding allocations” are expected later this year.

The homes that will be bought out are dispersed throughout the county and were prioritized because they have been designated as “substantially damaged” by building code officials at the Harris County Engineering Department or at the City of Houston’s Public Works Department.

The “substantially damaged” designation means the cost to repair the home is assumed to be equal to or more than 50 percent of the market value of the home itself.

The homes in question meet the requirements established in the HCFCD’s Home Buyout Program which, among others, include that the home is located in a mapped floodplain and/or subject to repetitive flooding caused by out of bank bayou flooding and, also, that the home is located in a community that has expressed general support for buyouts.