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www.HarrisRecovery.org
May 2022


 

Buyout Program Headlines & Highlights
(Desplácese hacia abajo para el español.)

 
DIRECTOR’S LETTER                            
           

Greetings!

We were pleased to provide more than 126 households with information about their relocation benefits, rental assistance, housing options and other resources Saturday, April 30th, at Harris County’s Buyout Program Resource Fair.

Our deepest gratitude to Cathedral of St. Matthew at 9109 Airline Drive and its excellent staff for hosting us. Thanks also to Credit Coalition, Covenant Community Capital and Texas Department of Insurance, as well as Harris County’s Real Property Division and Housing and Community Resource Center for joining the Project Recovery Buyout Program staff in the event. It was great to meet with so many program participants and address their questions and concerns.   

If you have any questions about your buyout benefits, please call 832-927-4961 or email RebuildHarris@csd.hctx.net to be connected to a Relocation Specialist.

Dr. Adrienne Holloway
Executive Director
Harris County Community Services Department

           

 
Mobile Relocation Office Opening June 6th  
Beginning in June, the Buyout Program will provide added convenience to residents by operating one week a month from a mobile office located in a buyout neighborhood. The first mobile relocation assistance office will be open June 6-10 on a site adjacent to the Greens Road Mobile Home Community at 1710 Greens Road.
The mobile unit is on loan to the Buyout Program from Harris County Public Health for one week a month through September. Signage and contact information on the unit relates to Public Health and should be disregarded. Exterior signs will be added with contact information for the Buyout Program. Drop by or schedule an appointment with your Relocation Agent. If you don’t have a Relocation Agent, call 832-927-4961 to be connected to one.The location and hours of operation for the mobile Relocation Office will be announced via emails and text messages to program participants prior to each visit. To ensure you receive notification please email your mobile phone number, along with your name and buyout property address, to DRPIO-Info@csd.hctx.net. Please add “Buyout Program Notifications” to the Subject line of the email.
 
 
Property Tax Exemptions for Relocating Homeowners
 As more residents move through the relocation phase of their Buyout Program process, we want to address recent questions about property taxes. Harris County has various types of homestead exemptions that can help lower property taxes. To qualify for a homestead exemption, the homeowner must be an individual (not a business) and the home must be the individual’s principal residence on January 1 of the tax year with the exemption.

If the homeowner is aged 65 and older or disabled, the exemption is available immediately upon qualifying for it, so elderly and disabled residents are encouraged to apply as soon as they close on their relocation home (or as soon as they turn 65 or become disabled). The 65-and-older or disabled exemption is effective as of January 1 of the tax year the applicant qualifies, and it applies to the entire tax year. 

Tax exemptions work by reducing the appraised value of the home, thus reducing the property tax amount assessed. For example, homeowners with a basic homestead exemption can get $25,000 exempted for school taxes, meaning that if the home is valued at $100,000, school taxes are only assessed on $75,000 of the value. If this same homeowner has a 65-and-older or disabled exemption, school tax values are reduced by an additional $10,000, so the tax bill is based on $65,000 of the homes $100,000 value. 

Among the other types of tax exemptions are those for disabled veterans and surviving spouses (who have not remarried) of persons killed in the line of duty as a U.S. Armed Services member or first responder.
Applications for tax exemptions are available from the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) at www.hcad.org under the “Forms” tab; scroll down to “Residential Exemption.” Information is also available under the “Help” tab or by calling HCAD at 713-957-7800 or emailing help@hcad.org 

 
The Counteroffer Is Not Difficult
 The Harris County Post Disaster Relocation and Buyout Program would like to ensure the residents, business owners and first responders that their safety comes first. Although this is a mandatory program, you have the right to negotiate and provide a counteroffer if you do not agree with the amount of the County’s offer for your property. If you are going to counteroffer, a few tips can help you move through the process more smoothly:
  1. Counteroffer as quickly as possible. You must do so within 30 days of receiving your offer, but the faster the better. Relocation benefits can’t be provided until the final offer amount is settled, so counteroffer delays may also delay your ability to make an offer on your preferred relocation home.  
  2. Strengthen your counteroffer with supportive documents, like receipts for repairs, a second appraisal, and photos of improvements

To learn more about this simple 2-step process, click here.

 
SAFE Funds Still Available for Those in Need
 The SAFE initiative provides financial assistance to mandatory buyout program residents who are ineligible for full federal relocation benefits. This includes households with financial hardship or legal status issues and earning no more than 120% of Harris County’s area median income ($95,050 for a family of four).

The program can provide homeowners with up to $31,000 for a replacement home and renters with up to $10,000 for rental assistance and moving costs, among other benefits. Visit the Post Disaster Relocation and Buyout Program webpage at www.HarrisRecovery.org to learn more about the SAFE Program. Find out if you qualify by connecting with a Relocation Specialist at 832-927-4961 or emailing  RebuildHarris@csd.hctx.net.