Courtesy Adobe Stock/DIIMSA

A historic Hurricane Harvey destroyed Houston homes last fall, and homeowners are still attempting to rebuild. Some are facing the decision of whether or not to just leave the area, says Audra D. S. Burch for The New York Times. Burch writes:

As climate change increases the frequency and intensity of storms like Harvey, no neighborhood is immune from being flooded again. But homeowners in Canyon Gate face a far more certain prospect: Their neighborhood is on land that was designed to be flooded. It is part of a reservoir that was built by the United States Army Corps of Engineers in the 1940s to prevent catastrophic flooding downtown, a fact that developers did little to publicize when they built Canyon Gate in the 1990s.

Like other homeowners, Paulette Delynn Archer, 70, said she had no idea the house was built in a reservoir. She was told over and over that she did not need flood insurance, she said. Two or three times she purchased it anyway and then let the policy expire.

Three years earlier, she had taken out a reverse mortgage, which allows homeowners over 62 years old to convert equity into cash. After the flood, her house was worth less than the loan balance. It left her in a terrible bind. “I am sitting here thinking that I am not going to be able to get out of this situation,” she said.

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