FEMA sends additional $51M to Harris County for post-Harvey buyouts

Flooded homes near Lake Houston after Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017.
Flooded homes near Lake Houston after Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

HOUSTON – The Federal Emergency Management Administration said Thursday that an additional $51 million is being awarded to Harris County to buyout more flood-prone homes damaged by Hurricane Harvey.

The new money will be used to purchase and remove another 294 homes. The land will then be used to perform as a natural floodplain.

According to the county’s Flood Control District, officials are waiting on formal notification of the funds before deciding which properties the money will be used to acquire.

District officials announced earlier this month that $25.6 million had already been sent to the county to buyout 169 of the nearly 1,000 homes that they want to purchase.

The first round of post-Harvey buyouts are concentrated near Humble on the banks of Lake Houston, near Seals Gully just west of Interstate 45, near Maxwell Park and the Bear Lake area.

The total price tag to buy out all 1,000 homes is $218 million.

The county must match a portion of the federal funds to qualify for the grants. Leaders have already authorized money required to fulfill the match for the first round of funding.

Buyouts happen on a voluntary basis, officials said.

Officials said more than 3,000 structures have been purchased since the county launched its flooding buyout program in 1985.

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