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FEMA and EBR Parish to buy several flooded homes

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BATON ROUGE - In June 2016, East Baton Rouge Parish accepted a nearly $2 million grant from FEMA to buy flooded homes from their owners. Two months later, most of the parish was underwater.

"2016 was the worst," said Central resident Jimmie Downs. "We had a little over 8 feet."

Downs's property on Shady Knoll Place is what FEMA calls a "Severe Repetitive Loss". His home has flooded 5 times.

"We've averaged flooding about every 8 years," he said.

Downs says he waited this long to sell for two reasons, one--he and his wife enjoyed the chances to remodel, and two--prior offers from the government were too low.

"They made us an offer to buy us out after we flooded in 2001, but it was only like 50 percent of the value of the house and I couldn't afford to take it."

Now he and three other home-owners are getting what Jimmie calls a fair price

Those properties include another home on Shady Knoll that got more than 8 feet of water in August, one on Sunnybrook Drive that got 11 feet, and another on Strand Drive in Westminster, though that property's buyout is part of a separate grant.

The authorization of the sales were only introduced at Wednesday's metro council meeting. There will be a public hearing in May. 

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