HDA Building First Home for Flood Survivor

Nonprofit raises walls on first of four homes in Perry County

CHAVIES, Ky. – The first of four new homes for Perry County flood survivors started taking shape on Tuesday. The home is the first in a series of 12 homes to be built for flood survivors in hard-hit Breathitt, Knott, and Perry counties.

The Housing Development Alliance (HDA), in partnership with the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky and Fahe, lifted the walls on a new 3 bedroom, 2 bath home that will soon be home to someone who lost their home in the flood disaster of July 2022.

“This is a day we’ve been waiting for,” HDA Executive Director Scott McReynolds said. “The building of this home is a sign of hope to all those trying to rebuild their lives.”

Since several flood survivors are still living in tents, travel trailers, and unheated, flood-damaged homes, McReynolds said there is an urgent need for well-built, flood resilient homes.  

“Thousands are still in need of proper shelter with the winter fast on its way,” McReynolds said. “It’s something we keep saying, because it’s true: housing can’t wait.”

The home, which is the first to be built in the Blue Sky Subdivision located near the Wendell H. Ford Airport in Chavies, is funded by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky’s Housing Can’t Wait Initiative and by a $25,000 investment from Fahe.

The home will be sold to a flood survivor whose home was destroyed or significantly damaged by the flood. McReynolds said every effort is being made to keep the cost of the home affordable.

“This house will be sold at its appraised value, but much of the financing for the home will be in the form of forgivable loans or grants that don’t have to be repaid if the flood survivor uses the home as their primary residence,” McReynolds noted.

He added that when available, volunteers will be used to reduce labor costs and speed construction. In addition, donated construction materials, if available, will be used to boost the affordability of the home.

Flood survivors will be expected to use FEMA awards for housing towards the purchase of an HDA home. If survivors have been approved a disaster recovery loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), they may use that financing or apply for other affordable financing that is available. HDA will work with potential homeowners to secure other flood-based housing assistance to further enhance affordability.

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Above: HDA’s construction crew began building the home on Monday, Oct. 17. By Thursday, Oct. 20, the walls were raised and the crew was ready to roof.

McReynolds said HDA’s long-term flood relief and recovery efforts will be ongoing and will be completed in addition to the agency’s normal work in its affordable housing programs – Homeownership, Home Repair, and Rentals.

“To accomplish that, we’re going to double our crews. So, instead of 5 crews, we’re going to have 10,” McReynolds said. “This way we’ll be able to address the needs of flood survivors as well as the needs of our clients, who are in need of new homes and home repairs unrelated to the flooding.”

“We’re not taking land away from our clients to build houses for flood survivors,” he continued. “If you’re working towards homeownership or home repairs with HDA, our work with you will continue as it normally would.”

HDA is beginning the process of expanding its construction crews and will also hire an AmeriCorps Direct Service Member to work in its construction department.

McReynolds said this is all in an effort to bring quality housing to flood survivors, not just shelter.

“The homes we build are not meant to be temporary solutions,” McReynolds explained. “We’re not just providing shelter for folks; we’re building homes. We build quality, long-lasting homes that provide an opportunity for low and middle-income families to build wealth, and since our homes are energy efficient, families can save hundreds of dollars a year in utility costs.”

Flood survivors in Breathitt, Knott, and Perry counties who are interested in purchasing one of the new, affordable homes should call the HDA office at 606-436-0497 or email HDA.  

Those interested in volunteering to help build and repair homes for flood survivors with HDA should email julia@housing-development-authority.websitepro.hosting.

The Housing Can't Wait Fund

HDA has launched a grassroots fundraiser for its Housing Can’t Wait Fund, with 100% of the donations going directly to help flood survivors in our flood-impacted community. Click the button below to donate today!
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