Nov. 5--PANAMA CITY -- Bay County commissioners on Tuesday approved a grant submittal to buy homes that were damaged from Hurricane Michael.
The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) has allocated $27 million to its Rebuild Florida Hurricane Michael Voluntary Home Buyout Program, with a maximum single award not to exceed $5 million.
Bay County applied for the $5 million maximum.
County officials said the $5 million will be used for about 15 homes. Nine homes already have been targeted as possibly meeting the criteria for purchase.
The purpose of buying homes that were damaged by Michael is to help people who might not have homeowner's insurance and don't have a way to repair or sell their homes. The program is designed to buy the homes at their pre-hurricane value.
"These are homes or properties that have been a chronic problem for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), and they have programs where they come in and buy that house out," said County Commissioner Tommy Hamm. "There's a lot of criteria that has to be met. Income is a portion of that, your claim history, so it's stringent to qualify."
The properties that are more likely to qualify are ones that not only sustained damage of more than 50% of market value, but also constantly flood. The plan is to buy the homes and turn the properties into green space.
Officials said the program should help mitigate the county's flooding problem.
Bay County resident Tammy Taylor has a home that recently collected more than 50 inches of rain. It was damaged by Hurricane Michael and also regularly floods.
Her home is one that more than likely will be approved for the buyout program, officials said.
You can find out more about the program on the county's website at baycountyfl.gov. People also can attend a meeting from 5:30- 6:30 p.m. Thursday to discuss the program at the Bay County Government Center.
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