Household Relocation through Buyouts after Natural Disasters: An Eastern North Carolina Case Study after Hurricane Floyd (1999)

Danny de Vries, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
James Fraser, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has sponsored buyouts (acquisition and relocation programs) in order to relocate property owners out of flood prone areas. This paper describes obstacles and difficulties of relocation as they were experienced by flooded property owners from socially disadvantaged neighborhoods and local buyout managers in two comparable, eastern North Carolina cities (Kinston and Greenville). Both cities conducted buyout programs after the devastating flooding caused by Hurricanes Dennis, Floyd, and Irene in the fall of 1999. Based on a survey among buyout participants (n=152) and in-depth interviews with program managers (n=12), the results show that the major variables increasing the difficulty of making the decision to participate among property owners included the extent to which property owners owed money on their mortgage and a number of variables dealing with issues of inequity and mistrust. The paper provides suggestions how equity and trust building could be integrated in buyout management.

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Presented in Poster Session 1