Meyerland residents wait for city to approve funding for elevating flood-prone homes
HOUSTON – Twice-flooded homeowners in Meyerland are demanding answers from the state and the city of Houston about why they have yet to receive federal grant money to elevate their homes.
Chris Bisel is just weeks away from finishing repairs and renovations on his home, which sits just a block from Braes Bayou, after it flooded on Memorial Day 2015 and Tax Day 2016.
"It was pretty traumatic, most everything got washed away," Bisel said.
He applied for a FEMA elevation grant that would be distributed by the Texas Water Development Board and the City of Houston to raise his house 4 feet.
"I applied in June 2015. In October 2015, we were told we were one of 42 candidate homes and we were 18 on that list," he said.
In February 2016, FEMA approved $15.3 million in funds for the Texas Water Development Board and the city to pass on to homeowners. The city said the TWDB received the funds in March, and in a statement to Channel 2 a city spokesperson wrote:
"Currently, the City of Houston staff is working with the Texas Water Development Board on the contract/agreement for the City to receive the federal funds. The agreement is expected to go to City Council in late July/early August for consideration. Following City Council approval, contact will be made with the property owners included in the grant to hold a General Meeting to explain the process for securing the funds, finding qualified contractors, securing proper building and floodplain permits and payment processing to complete the work. At that time individual property owners will be working with city staff on their specific property issues and the grants for their home elevation project. Overall time period for completion of work under the grant is approximately 18 months."
Bisel says the city's flood management office has told him work won't begin until January 2017 at the earliest.
The city says the overall time period for completion of work once it starts is about 18 months.