Skip to main content

View Diary: The retreat away from the US coastline is beginning (243 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  home buyout (11+ / 0-)

    I am the recipient of the home buyout program and it is one of the best programs the federal government offers. Private companies do not offer flood insurance so you must buy a policy from FEMA and most mortgages require flood insurance if you live in a 100 year or 10 year flood plain.

    I live in Houston, one of this country's most flood prone cities. I owned a home on Brays Bayou and I purchased the home in 2006. I knew the home had flooded during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 but Harris County Flood Control (HCFC) was adding water retention ponds to hold excess rainfall and widening the channel so I thought I would take a chance on a beautiful cherry red Cape Cod home sitting on a hill overlooking the bayou.

    Hurricane Ike came along and the night before the storm made landfall, the bayou was rising rapidly due to the storm surge. I knew we would flood because the bayou was already near bankfull before the rains began.  Well, the rains came and we flooded. We had 4 feet of water in the house. The city of Houston denied all permits to repair the property unless we met the requirements of the new flood plain maps. We were required to lift the house seven feet to comply with the new maps. This was something we could not afford to do and although insurance will help defray the cost of lifting a house, it does not provide nearly enough money to complete the job. HCFC inquired if we were interested in selling the property through the home acquisition program. We eagerly agreed since we could not repair the home. Since the property had flooded in the past, we were put on the fast track for a buyout. FEMA purcashed nine homes in our neighborhood that had suffered flooding during Ike and in previous storms.

    We were given a fair price, actually a bit above market value and were out of the old house and into a new home within 13 months. I reviewed the old claims on our property and totaled the flood claims over the years (previous owners too) and compared it to the what FEMA paid for the property and it makes financial sense for FEMA to buy the properties and not continue to pay on claims. The home buyout saves the government money.

    I am a little surprised at the reaction of some you. There are a number of reasons why a property may flood. My home never flooded from 1930 through 1983 but Houston grew and urbanization affects run off and if the runoff exceeds the channel capacity, well, you're gonna flood. Houston continued to grow and further urbanization contributed to more runoff and flood issues. Toss in heavier rain events and one can see how this situation evolved. The home buyout program saved my family and eight other families from bankruptcy and we are very grateful.

    I am in agreement with government leaders who are trying to mitigate future loss. We must not build or live in areas that will flood - be it along rivers, streams or along the coast. I learned this lesson the hard way and our political leaders must look long term and develop policies that can prevent future risks.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

  • Recommended (143)
  • Community (62)
  • Baltimore (45)
  • Bernie Sanders (37)
  • Civil Rights (35)
  • Culture (28)
  • Elections (22)
  • Economy (21)
  • Freddie Gray (21)
  • Rescued (20)
  • Education (20)
  • Racism (20)
  • Law (20)
  • Hillary Clinton (19)
  • Labor (18)
  • Politics (17)
  • Media (16)
  • Environment (16)
  • Texas (16)
  • 2016 (15)
  • Click here for the mobile view of the site