Florida Keys homeowners could get a big cash buyout

Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma (Credit: Getty Images)
Florida Keys after Hurricane Irma (Credit: Getty Images)

Florida Keys homeowners who are still reeling from damage caused by Hurricane Irma can tap into a lifeline from the state of Florida.

Florida set aside $75 million of hurricane recovery money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to buy out flood-damaged homes, with about $10 million of the money earmarked for the Keys, according to the Miami Herald.

The cash is meant to be used in areas where it does not make sense to rebuild, the Herald reported. The rest of the $1.8 billion dollar payout will be used to cover housing repairs, and building and buying new affordable housing.

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Homeowners have until Aug. 15 to submit an application through their city or county. The application opened on July 16.

The new payouts could change some of the development landscape in the Keys. The state placed Monroe County under a rate of growth ordinance (ROGO) a number of years ago due to concerns about evacuating the islands in advance of a hurricane. The ordinance involves a complicated points system for plots of land and housing. Any developer or homeowner who wants to build a new home has to acquire enough points.

It can take a number of years for developers to acquire enough points, according to the Herald. By buying up hurricane damaged property, the state can then distribute more of these points to allow more construction. The county estimates it could be out of ROGO points by 2023, according to the Herald. [Miami Herald] – Keith Larson