Horry County begins accepting applications in home buyout program

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SOCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW) — Homeowners with property in a designated zone close to the Intracoastal Waterway can now apply for relief as Horry County began accepting buyout applications Monday from eligible Socastee homeowners.

To be eligible, homeowners must also face repeated property loss from as a result of flooding, according to a news release from Horry County.

Horry County Councilman Cam Crawford represents the affected homeowners. He said the buyout program was developed over several years with interest increasing after Hurricane Florence.

“The back of Rosewood, the back of Bridge Creek, the back of Lawsons Landing…were the most vulnerable,” Crawford said. “We identified interest, we identified vulnerability, and then the county built that program around that.”

Pete Paredes, 79, has been in his home on Rosewood drive for nearly four decades. Paredes’ home is eligible for the buyout program, but he will not sell.

He said that finances and age are two top reasons many in the neighborhood might not sell.

“The majority of people here are retired and they can’t afford a $1,200 to $1,500 a month payment,” Paredes said. “You sell this house for $70,000 to $80,000 and they charge you $20,000 to demolish the house. You won’t be able to buy another house.”

Several other homeowners echoed Paredes’ concerns. One homeowner in particular is six years into ownership and does not think selling his home makes financial sense. He said it makes more sense for those who have completely paid off their homes or have built more equity.

Councilman Crawford encouraged hesitant homeowners to still apply so they can be presented with all of their options.

“Give it a chance to meet with community development block grants and just talk with them,” Crawford said. “After you complete the application, they’ll schedule an appointment with you and just talk with them about it. It doesn’t hurt to look at all your options.”

A map of the available area for the Socastee buyout project. (Source: Horry County Government)

More information is available at horrycounty.org/resiliencyproject. Questions can be directed to (843) 915-7033 or emailed to resiliencyproject@horrycounty.org.

To apply, email an enrollment form to resiliencyproject@horrycounty.org, or mail it to the Horry County Community Development Office, addressed to Buyout Program, at 100 Elm St, Conway, South Carolina, 29526.

Appointments can also be scheduled from noon until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Socastee Library, starting on July 13 through on Aug. 24.

The enrollment period ends Aug. 25.

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