City of Austin set to buy homes along Onion Creek flood plain - | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

City of Austin set to buy homes along Onion Creek flood plain

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The city of Austin is prepared to buy more than one hundred homes in the flood plain along Onion Creek, the same area that saw devastating damage during last month's record flash floods.

Lillie Flores lost almost everything in the Halloween floods.

"They drowned. My little Dachshund, Candy and the cat, Angel. This is the heartbreak," said Flores.

The place she called home for more than two decades is now just a shell.

"This is the living room where we spent Christmas."

I asked, "Where would your tree go?"

Flores answered, "I would put it here in this corner or I would move it over here."

The city and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been working on a buyout project for the Onion Creek area since 1999 because of flooding. Recently, the city of Austin announced they would buy out 115 homes damaged in the floods.

Flores said, "Two houses over to my right, and further down the street toward William Cannon, the house is across the street, are all in the buyout, yet I am not."

City reps say the buyouts are based on how deeply homes flooded.

"We had pretty much the same extent of damage," said Lillie's neighbor, Lauren Cortez. "Code compliance, when they came through, didn't even step inside her house, evaluated and assessed it from the outside, gave her a red tag. Code compliance came in here...walked right out, gave us a yellow tag."

The county is also offering a buyout program, for anyone living outside the city limits. What they can't offer Onion Creek residents is money or an exact time frame.

Melinda Mallia, a Travis County Environmental Project Manager, said, "I could give a wild time line guess, if I had money, but without money in place, it's even harder to predict."

They're taking applications to present to Commissioner's Court, in the hope of buying out these people's homes.

Mallia said, "We will also use it to apply for new grants and that would also be through the Commissioners Court."

Representatives are asking residents to hold on, whether they live within the city limits or out in the county.

The county is in the process of buying 27 homers in the Timber Creek neighborhood, with leftover 2011 bond money. City reps say at this point, it would take a federal disaster declaration or federal funding of the corps project for more homes to potentially be bought out.

Also, State Representatives Paul Workman and Eddie Rodriguez are leading an effort to help flood victims through the Austin-Travis County Flood Relief Fund. The Home Builders Association of Greater Austin, The Texas Association of Builders and the Texas Builders Foundation are supporting the rebuilding effort.The fund is meant to help families buy materials and hire contractors to start rebuilding their homes.

For more information visit  Texas Builders Foundation.

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