Galveston is moving on from repairing and rebuilding homes damaged from Hurricane Ike to demolishing homes left dilapidated by the storm that devastated the Texas coastal island seven years ago this month.
John Simsen, the city’s disaster recovery director, said $1.5 million in federal disaster recovery money will be used to tear down up to 120 storm-damaged homes now that no other homes appear to remain eligible for rehabilitation under the program.
Under that program, low- and middle-income homeowners were eligible for repair or reconstruction.
“This would have gone into more rehabs and reconstructions, but the pool of applicants was exhausted,” Simsen said. “There were no more eligible applicants that could meet the income guidelines.”
The Galveston County Daily News reports that owners of the properties will be receiving letters alerting them that the structures will be coming down. The property owners will retain ownership of the land.
About 17,000 Galveston homes were damaged by Ike, with about 1,450 of them considered heavily damaged or destroyed.
City code inspectors and legal department officials have identified some of the targets for removal. City council members also have been encouraged to identify properties.
“Most everybody in the room has heard that we need to clean up dilapidated structures in this town for a long time,” Mayor Jim Yarbrough said. “This is an opportunity to get rid of a lot of them.”
At the outset, only homes that cost less than $30,000 to remove will be razed. More expensive projects will be undertaken depending on how much of the $1.5 million is left.
Officials said demolitions should be complete by December.
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