Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program?
Home buyouts are used by the Flood Control District to reduce flood damages in areas several feet deep in the floodplain where flood damage reduction projects, like channel improvements or storm water detention basins, are not cost effective and/or beneficial. The Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program does not provide immediate flood recovery assistance – its primary function is to help mitigate future flood damages. While some grant funds may be made available after a disaster declaration, these buyout grants do not provide immediate flood recovery assistance. In other words, buyouts are intended to prevent future flood damages.
What is the Flood Control District’s Jurisdiction?
The Flood Control District’s jurisdiction covers all of Harris County and includes the bayous, creeks, and smaller waterways that feed in the bayous within the County. Street drainage systems, culverts, and roadside ditches typically fall outside of the Flood Control District’s Jurisdiction.
What are the funding sources for the Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program?
Grants are available through two separate federal grantors: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. There is a complex process associated with applying for these funds, and any local governmental entity may apply for funding. The Flood Control District is one of many local governmental entities that is eligible to apply for Community Block Development Grants, as well as grants through the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program and the Flood Mitigation Assistance Program.
How long does the home buyout process take?
Home buyout programs typically take eight to twelve months to even get started, and then may take place over a period of many years following a flood event. The Flood Control District is attempting to expedite the home buyout process by working with local, state, and federal representatives.
Does a buyout include only single-family homes, or does it also include commercial buildings, multi-family residences and churches?
All of these structures are eligible for buyout. The program currently assigns a higher priority to residential structures because of interests in the health, safety, and welfare of the residents who are at risk and have nowhere else to live.
What happens to the property once it is purchased by the Flood Control District?
The buyout program includes a planning process to guide decisions about proper use of the remaining land. Once property is purchased in a buyout, all structures are removed, the utilities are capped and the ground is leveled. The land is usually allowed to return to its natural state, and it remains as open space, such as parks, vacant lots, or wetlands. As a deed restriction through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and as part of their grant requirements, property purchased by the Flood Control District can never again be developed as private property.
How do you know if your property has been identified as a candidate for a home buyout?
If your property is identified as eligible for a home buyout, and you have submitted a Notice of Voluntary Interest form, the Flood Control District Property Acquisition Team will contact you directly.
How will property be appraised if selected as a candidate for a home buyout?
If selected as a candidate for a home buyout, property owners are provided pre‑flood appraised values for their homes, and the Flood Control District also provides relocation assistance as part of the buyout process.
How do you volunteer your property for consideration in the Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program?
To volunteer your home for consideration, you may provide the Flood Control District with a Notice of Voluntary Interest by filling out the Notice of Voluntary Interest form. Submitting the Notice of Voluntary Interest form does not obligate you to sell or the Flood Control District to purchase your home.