Harris County Commissioners OK plan to buy out 200 flooded homes

By Olivia Pulsinelli  –  Senior web editor, Houston Business Journal

The Harris County Commissioners Court on Sept. 26 approved a $20 million plan to buy out around 200 homes flooded by Harvey, according to several reports.

The county will focus on buying out homes that aren’t eligible to be rebuilt unless their elevation is raised, per the reports.

Raising an average two-story house by at least five feet likely would cost between $120,000 and $150,000, Houston Public Media reports.

Although the targeted homes will be located all over Harris County, many are expected to be in the northern portion of the county, according to

The price offered to homeowners will be calculated by subtracting insurance payouts from the homes’ appraised values, assuming pre-flood conditions, KHOU reports.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett hopes the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse the county, KHOU reports, but those details haven’t been worked out yet.

“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 said, per KHOU. “It’s important that they know that they shouldn’t just start rebuilding. They’re not gonna get a permit to do that.”

County Commissioner Precinct 3 Steve Radack said the county is trying to move forward as quickly as possible, KPRC reports.

“FEMA can take several months to two years, and the (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) can take several years on buyouts, so we’re hoping all of that will be accelerated,” he said, per Click2Houston.

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