Photo: Jill Carlson

After Hurricane Harvey, conversation quickly turned to buyouts as a cost effective way to deal with homes in flood-prone areas. Public officials and others called for extensive buyouts by local jurisdictions that would purchase flooded homes in the floodplain, demolish them and then leave those spaces as open space in perpetuity. Homeowners, too, expressed interest, calling city and county services in the region asking about eligibility for such a program. And it wasn’t the first time buyouts emerged as a popular solution. In fact between 1985 and 2017, the Harris County Flood Control District purchased more properties than any other jurisdiction in the country. But as it prepares to complete another round of buyouts, the Kinder Institute for Urban Research looked to other jurisdictions to see how it might be done more effectively and with the future in mind this report.