Harris County gets first round of funding for post-Harvey buyouts

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor, Debbie Strauss - Special Projects Producer
Win McNamee/Getty Images

Flooded homes near Lake Houston after Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017.

HOUSTON - Harris County Flood Control District has received the first round of money meant to fund buyouts of homes that were destroyed by the floods of Hurricane Harvey, officials said Monday.

The Flood Control District requested enough funds to buy out 1,000 homes.

Monday, the agency announced it will receive about $25.6 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

This initial funding, plus matching local money, will be enough to buy 169 of the 1,000 homes that officials want to purchase.

The money will be disbursed by the Texas Division of Emergency Management.

A map of the locations of the first homes that officials hope to purchase shows they are clustered near Humble on the banks of Lake Houston, near Seals Gully just west of Interstate 45, near Maxwell Park and the Bear Lake area.

Officials said the properties were prioritized because they were designated by Harris County or Houston engineers as "substantially damaged."

The homeowners voluntarily signed up. These buyouts are not a done deal yet.

The Harris County Commission must approve paying for 25 percent of the total project. The total price tag to fund all 1,000 home buyouts is $218 million.

This could happen as early as June 12.

The remaining buyout money requested is still being reviewed by state emergency managers, 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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