As sea levels rise and storms become more extreme, a growing number of homes are at risk of flooding.
To help people move out of vulnerable areas, some homeowners may be offered buyouts. This typically means that the government pays them for their home’s value and then prohibits redevelopment of the property. But the details of buyout programs vary.
“And I think, by and large, the programs that exist are not serving everybody who needs help,” says Osamu Kumasaka of Buy-in Community Planning, a nonprofit.
He says sometimes the appraised value of a home is lower because of chronic pollution in the area.
And people’s options for new homes may be limited if they need to stay near jobs and family. So the amount offered may not cover the cost of a move.
“That’s not just the cost of a new house but also the cost of moving services,” Kumsaka says. “People have to take time off work. You know, there’s all sorts of costs of moving both financially and socially and emotionally that some buyout programs that exist will account for, and some don’t.”
So Kumasaka’s group is surveying homeowners in flood-prone areas and partnering with community groups — so they can advocate for buyout programs that meet residents’ needs.
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media