TULSA COUNTY, Okla. — Tulsa County could be offering up money for area homes damaged by major floods in 2019.
It's receiving a Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery. The federal grant would allocate $14 million for a voluntary buyout process, where the county could purchase houses in the floodplain if the owner chooses to sell.
Sand Springs resident Michael James said his home was one of hundreds that flooded in May 2019.
“The garage filled up probably knee-deep in water," James said. "And then my house sits above that. So I maybe had only an inch or two inches of water above my carpet, but through the entire house.”
But it was just enough for his home to be damaged.
“So, everything that touches the ground is now bad," James said. "I have to replace cabinets, countertops, walls, insulation.”
James still lives in his home, but now he, and others, could have the opportunity to be paid to move.
Tulsa County held a meeting Wednesday evening to discuss the voluntary buyout process. The purchased houses would then be demolished and razed and nothing could be built there again.
“These are homes that will flood again," said Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith. "It might be 10 years, it might be 15 years, it might be this spring. We just don’t know. But where they’re located on the river below a dam, they will be flooded again.”
The acquisition program is completely voluntary. Depending on how many people are interested, the grant would be submitted in June. Then, from there comes a long list of steps such as prioritization of homes, an environmental review process and more, including an offer on the house.
There will be services available to help homeowners find new housing.
“We are able to help folks get out of flood harm's way and into a home that is safe," said Lacie Jones, acquisition relocation project manager for Meshek & Associates. "It’s a good home. We’ve got requirements: decent, safe and sanitary. So they typically end up in a better place, especially out of floods way.”
A homeowner can go through the process to determine how much they’d be offered for their home and can back out all the way up until closing day.
There’s not a complete timeline of the entire process yet.
There are more public meetings scheduled for this month.
April 11, 2022: 6 – 8 p.m.
Northwest Tulsa Hub
19 S. 49th W. Ave.
April 19, 2022: 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m.
6149 N. Lewis Ave.
April 25, 2022: 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Collinsville Veterans Community Center
903 W. Main St.
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