As experts warn that climate change could contribute to more intense rainfall and higher sea levels, federal and local governments are grappling with how to protect people in harm’s way. One potential solution: entice people to sell their disaster-prone homes and move elsewhere.
The Associated Press analyzed three decades of data for voluntary buyout programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The AP found that federal and local governments have spent more than $5 billion on buyout projects involving tens of thousands of private properties over the past 30 years. Much of that has gone to purchase flooded homes under the stipulation that the homes are torn down and the properties are not redeveloped for future housing.
The map below shows where HUD and FEMA buyouts take place from 1989 – 2019. Click on an area for more details. The database below it allows you to search FEMA buyouts by state, amount, year or other criteria. Find where buyouts happen in your state.
About the data
Buyout programs pass through several layers of government. The federal government provides funding through various FEMA and HUD programs to states to be used for hazard mitigation and disaster recovery. The states, in turn, can provide money to local governments such as cities or counties to administer buyouts.
The properties ultimately are owned by the local government, even though the original source for most of the funding was the federal government. In the FEMA data, the subgrantee is the local government agency administering the project, and who you should contact with questions about the project's status.
All buyout programs are voluntary.