HOUSTON - More than 200 homeowners who have flooded repeatedly will be getting bought out.
Harris County Commissioners approved $20 million for the effort Tuesday morning.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says the buyouts will happen all over the county, though many will be in the northern part.
Those homeowners were identified by the county engineer because they’re so critical.
That’s good news for homeowners like Louis Cade in Cypress Creek. His home has flooded three times in three years.
"Right now, I'm probably spending 6 to 7 thousand dollars just cleaning out,” Cade said.
The judge said he and commissioners wanted to get to these homeowners as soon as possible before they started to rebuild.
“When they find out they can’t get a building permit from the county, that’s gonna be upsetting,” Emmett said. “But under FEMA rules, we don’t have a choice. So, the only way they could be given a permit is if they raise the level of their home, and that’s a very expensive proposition.”
Emmett is hoping FEMA will reimburse the county. But they didn’t have time to wait for answers before taking action.
"We didn't think it was fair to those people to wait until FEMA weighed in because, like I said, they're gonna be getting their insurance checks,” Emmett explained. “It's important that they know that they shouldn't just start rebuilding. They're not gonna get a permit to do that.”
County engineer John Blount says they'll use an independent appraiser assuming pre-flood conditions, subtract the insurance payout and offer whatever's left over.
More than 3,000 people have applied for a voluntary buyout program through Harris County so far.
The homeowners approved will be notified later this week.
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