Federal flood payouts drag taxpayers through the mud

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Hurricane Harvey Texas Coastline damage
U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon

HOUSTON — It’s no surprise to anyone living in Harris County that the area is prone to flooding — even in years when the region isn’t hit by a hurricane, such as Harvey that ravaged the area just over two months ago.

What may come as a surprise is that the federal government’s flood insurance program apparently continues to pay homeowners to rebuild their flooded homes, even if those home flood over and over again.

ABC13’s Ted Oberg took a look at the issue this week.

From ABC13:

Critics of the National Federal Insurance Program suggest it’s been easier for the federal government program to just keep paying people to rebuild, instead of addressing flooding issues that have routinely put the program deeply in debt.

At least 100 properties have flooded more than 15 times in the last 40 years, data provided by the National Defense Resource Council shows.

Another 400 properties have flooded more than 10 times.

Oberg found one home that the federal government — essentially, taxpayers like you — paid to rebuild a home that flooded eye-popping two-dozen times.

Also from Oberg:

It’s a troubling pattern…

That home has flooded more than 20 times since 1979.

FEMA shows 23 payouts as of 2012 when we interviewed a former owner. The current landlord didn’t return our calls, but we know it’s only gotten worse since then.

That homeowner told us in 2012 no one ever offered her a buyout to stop the federal insurance payments.

Oberg’s piece includes a graphic of homes that have flooded multiple times, video, and numbers that tell the tale of this apparent flooding foul-up.

Oberg’s piece includes a graphic of homes that have flooded multiple times, video, and numbers that tell the tale of this apparent flooding foul-up.

See his whole report here.

Trent Seibert can be reached at [email protected] or at 832-258-6119.

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