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The city of Galveston is spending $21 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds for a buyout program designed to clear empty and decaying homes from the streets of the city.

It has been a year and half since Hurricane Ike made landfall near Galveston in September of 2008, and there are still dozens of homes that lie vacant and severely damaged lining Galveston’s streets.

So far the city has closed on 42 homes that have been substantially damaged, and is planning on closing on over two dozen more homes in the very near future.

Construction crews began demolition work on Monday. The city hopes to have all of the approved homes demolished by the end of May; just before hurricane season starts up again.

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