Pasco residents opting for home buy-out program

Posted at 4:50 PM, Sep 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-17 16:50:14-04
Jack White says 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," he said. "I have 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.”
Water from the wetlands behind his home flooded his backyard and many neighboring homes. 
Out front, it wasn’t much better.
That’s why White wants to learn more about programs for buying out flood prone homes.
“I try not to let it anger me," he said. "I wanted to find out all the angles, what we can and can’t do. Because yelling and screaming doesn’t help.”
Pasco County Emergency Management officials said because the county wasn’t declared a federal disaster area, there likely won’t be a dedicated fund for home buy outs. But they are still working with what’s available locally and from the state. 
And they want those who believe their homes might qualify as flood prone to get in touch.
If a home does qualify for a buy out, you don’t usually get a check for the full value. Costs for surveys, appraisals, and demolition will take a big chunk.
Meanwhile. Jack is one of dozens who got his home on the the county’s list to review because he’s worried this scene could happen again.
“They flat out told us that if it rains like that again we are gonna flood," he said. "There’s nothing they can do right now that’s gonna fix the problem.”
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 flooded during Tropical Storm Debbie in 2012.
If you want your home to be reviewed for possible buy-out, call Emergency Management at 727-847-8137.
You can read FEMA's recommendations for retrofitting your home for flood protection here.