Wealthy counties get many FEMA buyouts of flood-prone homes

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2017, file photo, a neighborhood near Addicks Reservoir is flooded by rain from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston. A new study finds that FEMA buys flood-prone homes more often in wealthy, populous counties than in poor, rural areas, even though lower-income rural areas may be more likely to flood frequently. Harris County, Texas, where Houston is located, which, according to its flood control district, undergoes a major flood about every two years, has used FEMA’s buyout programs more than any other county, the researchers said.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — FEMA buys flood-prone homes more often in wealthy, populous counties than in poor, rural areas, even though lower-income rural areas may be more likely to flood frequently, a new study finds.

The reason is probably that better-off local governments have the resources to apply for and administer the programs — and that could keep many of the people who most need buyouts from getting them, according to the study Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

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