Conway pursues buyout program for some homeowners after Matthew

Conway pursues buyout program for some homeowners after Matthew

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Some homes in the Conway area were left damaged beyond repair following Hurricane Matthew. Now the City of Conway would like to help those homeowners with a fresh start.

Conway leaders said around 50 homes in the area are currently in high-risk flood planes. And after being through several natural disasters like the floods of October 2015 and Hurricane Matthew, it's not a matter of if, but when those homes will be at risk again.

Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said the process to be awarded a grant for a home buyout is extensive, and shouldn't be considered a short-term solution.

"It's completely up to the homeowner. It's completely voluntary as far as the community wanting to apply for the funds to do this type of project," said Derrec Becker.

"It is not an instant disaster-relief process. If someone is looking to this program thinking that this is going to be an immediate solution to the damage their home sustained from Matthew, they will be out of luck," Becker said.

Conway Councilman Tom Anderson said the city simply wants that option to be available for homeowners who have no other option. Ricky Skipper lives just outside of Conway city limits on the Waccamaw River, but said he was offered a similar deal back in 1999 after Hurricane Floyd.

"FEMA came through and was doing a buyout program up and down our road," said Ricky Skipper.

Skipper said he turned it down after only being offered $12,000 for the damaged home and the land it sat on.

"They made me an offer based on an appraised tax value and it was about 75 cents on the dollar of what it was actually worth. It just wasn't a good opportunity for me," Skipper said.

After his home was damaged again after the October 2015 floods, Skipper opted to this time rebuild. His advice - do what's best for you.

"If they have no other option and they really need to get out of the flood zone it's one thing, but if it's just something that hits once every so often then I just can't see selling it for pennies on the dollar," Skipper said.

If the buyout goes through, the homes purchased will be destroyed and the land will be gifted to the City of Conway. Once that's done, nothing can be built on them ever again.

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