Lower Onion Creek Flood Analysis
The Lower Onion Creek area flooded twice, once on October 31, 2013, and October 30, 2015. Many Lower Onion Creek residents are living in condemned homes five months after the latest flood.
Eric Rangel said after the floods, the city condemned his home. His home was no longer inhabitable, and his family had to seek other shelter options. The city of Austin provided no assistance. His family rented an apartment, but still had to pay for the mortgage of a condemned home. His parents could not afford to pay both the rent and a mortgage, leaving him no option but to quit school and join the …show more content…
Kibbie said that Lower Onion Creek was hit harder than any other area in the past two floods that have occurred in Austin.
The city of Austin has started a buyout process where homes that were condemned after the flood are being bought out, and their owners are being placed in new homes.
In 1999 the City of Austin began the buyout process of homes in the Lower Onion Creek area. As of March 22, 673 homes have been bought out in the area, with 182 homes remaining to be bought out.
The buyout of homes in the 100 year flood plain began in March 2015. Out of 232 homes, 70 have been bought out while 161 remain, according to the Austin government website.
Buyouts are occurring in the 100 year flood plain, but Aguirre and Kibbie said the buyout process was moving too slowly and that another flood could occur before the process is complete.
“A lot of [residents] are trying to get out, but the city of Austin is having a hard time buying them out because of the lack of housing,” said Kibbie. “They say it’s due to a lack of housing, but I think they are just taking their …show more content…
“Everyone here is depressed and the city is taking so long, to buy everyone out. I am living in a condemned house right now, with no walls,” Lopez said. “Everyone you talk to has to go to the doctor because they can’t sleep at night, and everytime it rains, like it did Monday we are up all night because we think it’s going to flood again.”
Catherine Aimes currently lives in a home with no interior walls and no carpeting with her two 7-year-old daughters.
“I have a lot of mental problems living as a forced refugee by a society that I am a member of,” Aimes said.
She also has problems sleeping, and said that the two floods that have occurred within a three year time span have given her PTSD, and that she will file a lawsuit against the city of Austin for emotional distress, loss of income, and health and mental distress.
The sum of her experiences has led to her loss of hope in the City of Austin government, Aimes said. Lopez had a bit of retrospective advice for the City of Austin.
“They should’ve bought us out two years ago,” said