Dearborn Heights buying up homes in flood zone

Posted at 9:31 AM, Sep 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-02 09:33:53-04

Their houses are in a flood zone and now the city of Dearborn Heights is using federal dollars to buy up 15 houses from people who have often been unable to even leave their homes because of the water around them.

"We've been in this house since November of 89.. 27 years," said Brian Lauer. 

Brian and Deb Lauer have said goodbye to their home--sad to let go, but not sorry to get away from the constant flooding.

"Every time it rains, it can't live like that forever," said Deb Lauer. 

The city of Dearborn Heights has finalized the purchase of the Lauers' home on Hanover with funds provided by FEMA's Hazard Mitigation grant. It's a $2.8 million grant to buy up 15 houses on the street. These are houses city officials say that never should have been built in the Ecorse Creek flood zone.

"They got a grant from FEMA to buy everybody out. Because we found out it's not really a creek behind our house, it's a drain and you're not supposed to build houses so close to that drain," said Brian Lauer. 

In 2014, these families saw the worst of the flooding.

"Short of death it was the hardest thing that's ever come to our family," said Heidi Brown. 

Brown and her family have also agreed to sell their home to the city for market value-- and within 90 days of closing, the homes will be demolished.