Governor Includes HDA in Plan to Rebuild Eastern KY
HDA Receives Major Funding to Build New Homes
HAZARD, Ky. (Dec. 21, 2022) – On Tuesday, Gov. Beshear unveiled a vision for long-term recovery in Eastern Kentucky that includes building new homes for flood survivors.
Gov. Beshear said the state has secured 75 acres of land near Talcum in Knott County, which was donated by Shawn and Tammy Adams, to build a high-ground community called Olive Branch. The name was given to it by the donors, who said the name is a symbol of peace and recovery and recalls the biblical story of Noah’s Ark in which a dove returned to Noah with an olive branch, a sign that the great flood was over.
Work is expected to begin in early 2023 and will include an improved water treatment facility, roads and utilities to the area. In the development of the land, the Governor said the site could grow to 300 acres, especially with plans to build affordable, energy efficient homes, senior apartments, park and recreation space, and even an elementary school.
The Governor further announced that the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund is committing $600,000 in funds to build eight new homes in partnership with the Housing Development Alliance (HDA) and HOMES, Inc. Between them, the two nonprofit affordable housing developers serve Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, and Perry counties, which combined account for 75 percent of the homes lost to flood damage.
According to reports from FEMA and the Red Cross, 2,132 homes were destroyed or majorly damaged in the unprecedented flooding on July 28, and over 8,600 FEMA applicants in the four counties reported home damage. Nearly 5,000 FEMA applicants — not including anyone else who lived with them — reported needing immediate shelter.
Hazard-based nonprofit HDA, which will receive $450,000 of the committed funds, will build 6 more new homes, along with the 12 it has already committed to building, in Breathitt, Knott, and Perry counties. The funds provide $75,000 per home for building materials.
He continued, “The need is tremendous, but the response and the generosity of the community has been overwhelming. We just really appreciate all of the donors to the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund and all the support we’ve received.”
McReynolds said the state’s commitment to building new homes for flood survivors in Eastern Kentucky is a great start. However, he also added that he estimates the region will need at least 2,300 houses – at an estimated cost of more than $600 million.
“We’ve said all along that we want to get this recovery right,” McReynolds said. “We don’t want to settle for just a box. This is about more than just providing shelter. We want flood survivors to have quality, affordable, long-lasting and energy efficient homes.”
To find out more about HDA’s flood recovery and affordable housing efforts in Eastern Kentucky, please visit hdahome.org.
Flood survivors can find a list of resources including information on new home construction and assistance with home repairs at governor.ky.gov/flood-resources.
Read the Governor’s press release here.