NEW PORT RICHEY — Nearly two years after Tropical Storm Debby, Pasco County is getting a $1.2 million grant from FEMA to buy and demolish homes that were flooded by the storm.
Annette Doying, the county’s emergency management director, said the homes are spread out from Holiday to Hudson, but they all have one thing in common.
“Tropical Storm Debby produced flooding in areas that were outside of the FEMA flood map, so they didn’t have flood insurance,” she said. “We had a lot of people who didn’t come through Debby whole. The majority of them did not return to the homes because they were rotted by the floodwaters.”
Doying said the county has been working with 23 homeowners who were eligible for the assistance, but the $1.2 million grant will only cover 15 homes. The county is seeking another grant for the eight remaining properties.
The grant pays 75 percent of the fair market value of the house — before the storm. “It’s not like they’re hitting the Lotto,” Doying said. “We pass that 25 percent match on to the homeowner.”
The grant also includes the cost of demolishing the buildings — so the homeowners actually receive less than 75 percent, she said. Once the county acquires the property, it places a deed restriction on the land so a home can never be built there again.