SOCASTEE, S.C. (WBTW) – South Carolina has allocated nearly $15.6 million in grants for the Socastee flood relocation program and mitigation efforts, according to Horry County Councilman Cam Crawford.

Horry County will receive the grants for flood mitigation activities, with more than $13 million of the funding dedicated to the relocation of repeat flood victims through voluntary buyouts of eligible homes.

“This is something that we’re really excited about that we’ll be able to help some of our families that are affected by flooding,” April O’Leary, President, and Founder of Horry County Rising said.

“This relocation program is a key component to address flooding in the Socastee community and is a practical solution that will provide relief to those living in vulnerable flood areas,” State Rep. Heather Crawford said. “This funding is extremely important to the Socastee community and the result of a great deal of hard work from the state of South Carolina and Horry County.”

More than $2.4 million of the funds are allocated for infrastructure projects to reduce future flood risk in the Cowford Swamp area.

“This is great news for Socastee residents who have flooded numerous times over the past several years as a result of record amounts of rainwater from North Carolina colliding with the Intracoastal Waterway,” Councilman Crawford said. “I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to work with both the state and the county to help finally bring this program to fruition. While we have overcome one hurdle there is still work to be done, and I will continue my advocacy for those who have endured repetitive flooding in the Socastee area.”

‘I know this is really really good news that we’ve been pushing for, for quite some time,” O’Leary said.

The buyout program is voluntary and will pay for the cost of purchasing, demolishing, and stabilizing lots for over 60 flood-prone homes along the Intracoastal Waterway in Socastee.

Horry County will soon announce a virtual seminar to update affected residents to be followed by several intake meetings in the designated area.

Those who completed the interest form last year will be contacted by the county to explain the process. Even those who did not fill out the interest form last year are eligible to begin the intake process, assuming they meet the criteria.

Angie Barfield, a resident on Lawson’s Landing in Socastee said she applied for the buyout program last year after dealing with repeat flooding in and around her home.

“Ever since we have purchased it, this is the 3rd time we’ve had water to the house, this is the first time we’ve had water completely in the house and we’ve had about 8 inches so it continually gets worse,” Barfield said.

Barfield’s home is currently unlivable due to the most recent flood so she’s hoping the buyout program will come through saying, “I don’t want to be here but I can’t sell it to anybody, I don’t want them to be in this.”

Homes outside the county’s targeted area can apply directly to the South Carolina Disaster Recovery Office (SCDRO).

Horry County’s award comes from the first round of Community Development Block Grant Mitigation funds the state received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development. Horry County will administer the projects once the grant agreement is finalized with the state.

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