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Home buyouts an option for flood victims

Posted: 6:25 PM, Sep 17, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-17 18:25:21-04

Jack White said dealing with all the flooding in his Trinity neighborhood this summer was almost too much to take.

“The worst part of it was my 5-month old son and my wife, I had to send them away, and find them a place to stay. Then I have to stay up all night, I have to call out of work, I have to stay up 24-hours a day, making sure my house doesn’t get overrun by water. And quite honestly the mental stress,” he said.

That’s why White wants to learn more about programs for buying out flood prone homes.

“I try not to let it anger me. I wanted to find out all the angles. What we can and can’t do. Because yelling and screaming doesn’t help,” he said.

Pasco emergency management officials said because the county wasn’t declared a Federal disaster area, there likely won’t be a dedicated fund for home buyouts.

But they are still working with what’s available locally and from the state.

And want those who believe their homes might qualify as flood prone to get in touch by calling 727-847-8137.

“We want to know that you are out there, and that you are curious and that you are concerned with the conditions that you live with,” said Emergency Management Director Annette Doying.

If a home does qualify for a buyout, you don’t usually get a check for the full value. Costs for surveys, appraisals, and demolition will take out a big chunk.

Meanwhile, White is one of dozens who got his home on the the county’s list to review because he’s worried the flooding could happen again.

“They flat out told us that if it rains like that again we are gonna flood. There’s nothing they can do right now that’s gonna fix the problem,” said White.

Even when the buy outs do work out, they aren’t necessarily quick. Pasco County is still in the process of acquiring 13 properties that flooding during Tropical Storm Debbie in 2012.