Thursday, February 22, 2018
News Roundup

FEMA funds approved for flooded Pasco homes

Fifteen flood-prone houses in Pasco County will receive buy-out funds under a federal program responding to Tropical Storm Debby two years ago.

Sen. Bill Nelson's office announced the $1.3 million award from the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Friday.

County officials say 15 of 22 homeowners who applied for assistance will receive funding help. They don't yet know which applicants qualified. The storm ravaged homes across the county, but the damage was most severe in southwest Pasco.

"This is one of those funds or grant projects that can really help some of those folks that suffered the most," said Jim Johnston, the county's operations coordinator for emergency management.

The money will go toward houses that suffered severe flood damage from Debby or multiple storms including Debby. In such cases, home­owners can lose their flood insurance and become unable to sell their properties, which means they're stuck with them.

Under the FEMA program, Pasco will purchase the approved properties and demolish them to ensure they never again become habitable.

"They have to remain as open space, off the tax rolls," Johnston said. "That hurts us, because they're off the tax rolls, but it ensures this never happens again to someone else (at those locations)."

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