Hurricane Harvey

Latest Updates about Home Buyouts

Home Buyout Activities in the Harris County Region

Since Hurricane Harvey, the Harris County Flood Control District has been accepting “Notices of Voluntary Interest” in the Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program. It should be noted that the Flood Control District has maintained a Home Buyout Program since 1985, funded through several federal grants, as well as local funds. The Flood Control District has NOT yet received federal funding for buyouts specifically related to Hurricane Harvey.

Home buyout programs, in general, may be funded in a number of ways, including local sources and/or federal grants, each with its own unique criteria. Any local governmental entity may lead its own buyout program.

> Home Buyout Funding (PDF)

There may be several different home buyout programs ongoing in any given area, at any given time, funded by different sources with varying home buyout criteria. This is why the subject of home buyouts is complicated.

For more information about the Flood Control District’s Home Buyout Program, watch the Home Buyout Video.

> VIDEO: Home Buyout Program

What is the latest news related to home buyouts in Harris County?

There has been a great deal of activity related to home buyouts in the Harris County region since Hurricane Harvey, and this makes the topic even more complicated to follow and understand.

Here’s a brief timeline of what has occurred, and what is anticipated to occur in the near future:

February 20, 2018 - Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) submitted a Notice of Intent (NOI) Form with the Texas Division of Emergency Management. This NOI form is not the final request for funding but does inform the State of Texas of HCFCD's intention to request initial funding of $180,000,000.00 for the purpose of home buyouts. HCFCD will submit additional Notice of Intent Forms as the need for more funding for home buyouts is identified. HCFCD is currently awaiting the State of Texas to provide an updated HMGP application package to start the process of formal funding requests. 

February 13, 2018  – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized the following actions related to home buyouts:

  • A tract for the City of Houston Community Development Block Grant Disaster 2015 project in Precinct 3 on behalf of the Flood Control District (UPIN 180900Z1H062). This property is being purchased through a partnership between the City of Houston and the Harris County Flood Control District with funds requested in response to flooding in 2015.
  • A tract for the W100-00-00-25 Partnership Acquisition project in Precinct 3 on behalf of the Flood Control District (UPIN 080900Z1H042). The W100-00-00-25 acquisition is in partnership with the City of Houston. The property will be utilized for maintenance access to W100-00-00 (Buffalo Bayou).

January 30, 2018  – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized the following actions related to home buyouts and potential funding:

  • Harris County Commissioners Court authorized acquisition of three tracts for the Hurricane Harvey buyout project in Precinct 2, 3 and 4 being led by Harris County Engineering Department (not the Flood Control District). This is a continuation of the HCED project, and this project is further detailed in previous court authorizations occurring on September 26, 2017, December 5, 2017, and January 9, 2018.
  • Harris County Commissioners Court authorized the receipt and administration of potential Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds from the Texas General Land Office (GLO) in the amount of $46 million, and the execution of a pre-agreement costs letter to the Texas GLO in connection with the CDBG Disaster Recovery funds.  Please note that these are 2016 funds that would be reallocated to support post-Harvey disaster recovery efforts. Once received, this funding would be administered by the Harris County Community Services Department (not HCFCD), and the Harris County Community Services Department is currently preparing formal comments to be provided to the GLO regarding the allocation of these resources.

January 9, 2018  Harris County Commissioners Court authorized two actions related to home buyouts:

  1. Harris County Commissioners Court authorized acquisition of 39 tracts for the City of Houston Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster 2015 project in Precincts 1, 3, and 4 on behalf of the Flood Control District. This pre-Harvey CDBG grant application was submitted by the City of Houston in 2015. This grant application was approved by HUD, and it includes the purchase of 39 qualifying properties within the City of Houston.
  2. Harris County Commissioners Court authorized acquisition of and eminent domain, if necessary, for eight tracts for the Hurricane Harvey buyout project in Precinct 2 being led by Harris County Engineering Department (not the Flood Control District). This is related to previous court authorizations occurring on September 26, 2017, and December 5, 2017.

December 5, 2017 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized the acquisition of seven properties through the Hurricane Harvey buyout project led by the Harris County Engineering Department.  This is related to home buyout activities authorized on September 26, 2017.

November 14, 2017 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized activities to continue support of three actions related to home buyouts:

  • Related to a September 26, 2017 Commissioners Court action, the court authorized the acquisition of five properties to support the Hurricane Harvey buyout project being led by the Harris County Engineering Department.
  • Related to an October 10, 2017 Commissioners Court action, the court authorized acceptance of Texas Water Development Board funds related to a pre-Harvey Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant application that was submitted by the Flood Control District in 2016. This pre-Harvey grant application request resulted in approximately $13M in grant funds, with a combined local match of approximately $1.8M, that will be made available for acquisition and demolition of certain homes at risk of repetitive flood damage.
  • The court authorized the Harris County Community Services Department to submit applications to the Texas General Land Office for Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds of approximately $3.2M for infrastructure repair and housing buyout projects in connection with the 2015 presidentially declared disasters. This pre-Harvey application is being led by the Harris County Community Services Department. The Harris County Flood Control District hopes to receive approximately $1.3M of these funds for home buyouts around spring 2018.

October 24, 2017 – Harris County Commissioners Court further authorized activities continuing support of two actions (from October 10 and September 26, respectively) related to home buyouts:

  • Harris County Commissioners Court authorized two tracts for the Flood Mitigation Assistance Buyout Grant 2016 project in Precincts 2 and 4 on behalf of the Flood Control District pre-Harvey Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant application that was submitted by the Flood Control District in 2016. This grant application was recently approved by FEMA, and it includes the purchase of 41 qualifying properties within Harris County. This item continues the activity from the October 10, 2017 update.
  • Harris County Commissioners Court authorized 34 tracts for the Hurricane Harvey buyout project in Precincts 2 and 4 on behalf of Unincorporated Harris County. This effort is being administered by the Harris County Engineering Department (not Harris County Flood Control District). This item continues the activity from the September 26, 2017 update. 

October 10, 2017 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized two actions related to home buyouts:

  • Harris County Commissioners Court authorized a home buyout program in partnership with the City of Houston to address pre-Harvey repetitive flooding. The City of Houston is leading the buyout of homes within the city limits that were impacted by floods that occurred in 2015. The City identified three areas where the Flood Control District has purchased homes in the past that also met the requirements of the City’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, and the City will provide the Flood Control District with approximately $10M in funding to pursue buyouts on its behalf. Before Hurricane Harvey, the Flood Control District identified buyout as the preferred flood reduction project in these areas because these homes are currently so deep in the floodplain that a structural project (i.e., detention or channel modification) would not be practical.
  • Harris County Commissioners Court authorized appraisals on properties included in a pre-Harvey Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) grant application that was submitted by the Flood Control District in 2016. This grant application was recently approved by FEMA, and it includes the purchase of 41 qualifying properties within Harris County. This FMA grant program requires that an active flood insurance policy is in place for each property. All homes included in this program are located in Flood Control District buyout areas where the Flood Control District has previously completed numerous other acquisitions. FMA is a nationwide competitive grant program for which the Flood Control District submits an application annually. 

September 26, 2017 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized approximately $20M in County funds available for home buyouts in Unincorporated Harris County. This effort is being administered by the Harris County Engineering Department (not Harris County Flood Control District), and homes identified for buyout under this funding meet the following criteria determined by Harris County:

  • The property must be deemed substantially damaged (owners will receive a letter if/when deemed as such).
  • The property must have a current flood insurance policy.

September 12, 2017 – Harris County Commissioners Court authorized a $17M annual grant application for pre-Harvey Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) home buyouts. If approved by FEMA, this grant would support the buyout of approximately 100 homes that were identified for voluntary buyout prior to Hurricane Harvey. The properties identified for buyout through this $17M grant application meet the following FEMA home buyout criteria:

  • The property must be in a community in good standing in the National Flood Insurance Program (Any property within Harris County is considered in “good standing.”).
  • The cost of acquiring the property must be less than estimated costs of future flooding.
  • The property must be covered by federal flood insurance.

What’s next? When can we expect funding for the Flood Control District Home Buyout Program?

The Flood Control District Home Buyout Program is currently awaiting future funding that may be received in response to Hurricane Harvey, a Presidential declared disaster. Once additional funding is obtained, the Flood Control District will identify candidates for buyout that meet the Flood Control District’s home buyout program eligibility criteria (such as the source of flooding, the property’s location and depth within the floodplain, and other determining factors).

Once funding is received, the Flood Control District Property Acquisition Team will contact you directly if your property is identified as eligible for a home buyout and you have submitted a Notice of Voluntary Interest form.