Harris County approves first round of Harvey buyouts, and more could be on the horizon

A home is surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Spring, Texas. Homeowners suffering from Harvey flood damage are more likely to be on the hook for losses than victims of prior storms, a potentially crushing blow to personal finances and neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast. Experts say far too few homeowners have flood insurance, just two of ten living in Harvey’s path of destruction. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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Several weeks after Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the Texas coast, in light of an understanding of how much destruction homeowners sustained, Harris County officials announced plans to buyout flood-prone property.

In a unanimous vote, recently, the Harris County Commissioners Court approved the first round of buyouts, signaling the beginning of recovery for many homeowners in southeast Texas who say they are unable to rebuild.

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According to proposals, as part of the first phase of a plan to use $20 million of county money, the initial round of buyouts will include 34 homes, most of which are in the Banana Bend and Highland Shores neighborhoods near the San Jacinto River.

These preliminary 206 homes around Cypress Creek, Greens Bayou and the San Jacinto River are said to be built in the floodplains of unincorporated areas of the county homes, all of which reportedly suffered some impacts from Hurricane Harvey and stand in areas prone to regular flooding.

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Officials said they hope these will be the first of several rounds buyouts, with the county requesting an additional $17 million from FEMA to purchase 100 more flood-prone homes.

Currently, there are about 3,300 homes in the floodplains targeted for a buyout, according to the proposal further.

In total, the county reportedly contains 180,000 homes and structures in the 100-year floodplain, though most are set to be repaired after Harvey.

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