HDA to Aid More Flood Survivors with American Red Cross Grant
Funding supports new home construction and home repairs
HAZARD, Ky. (Jan. 3, 2024) — With a new year comes new hope, especially for flood survivors in Breathitt, Knott, and Perry counties.
The Housing Development Alliance (HDA), a Hazard-based nonprofit affordable housing developer that is leading flood recovery efforts in the area, has been granted over $335,000 by the American Red Cross to build 12 new homes for flood survivors and rehabilitate two homes damaged by last summer’s historic flooding.
The grant also provides capacity support for two key HDA staff positions while it conducts flood recovery efforts – Repair Program Manager and Repair Construction Specialist.
“Housing is the number-one need of flood survivors in Eastern Kentucky, and it’s because of that significant need that we’ve launched our Higher Ground plan to build and repair homes for flood-surviving households in the three counties we serve that were hardest hit,” said HDA Executive Director Scott McReynolds.
Since the flood disaster last July, HDA has completed 18 new homes for flood survivors and has rehabilitated 67 flood-damaged homes. McReynolds noted that by the end of the fiscal year, his organization hopes to complete a similar number of home builds and repairs for low-income families who were not directly affected by the flood.
“Since our area was in a housing crisis before the flood, we’re in a full-blown housing emergency now,” McReynolds said. “We lost over 400 homes and thousands were damaged. The most recent data shows the region will need at least 3 to 5 years to recover, and in just the counties we serve, the cost of recovery is estimated to be around $529 million. That’s why this grant is so significant to our efforts.”
In the weeks following the historic 1,000-year flood, more than 470 trained Red Cross disaster workers were on the ground in Eastern Kentucky, providing shelter, meals, emotional support, and more. The Red Cross has raised nearly $11 million for its Kentucky Floods response and has pledged to continue providing support services for both individual and community long-term recovery in the region.
Above L-R: Joseph Palumbo (with the Red Cross), Pine Mountain Partnership Executive Director Jeffrey Justice, former State Representative Angie Hatton, HOMES, Inc. Executive Director Seth Long, Lynn Huff (with the Red Cross), Executive Director of the Red Cross Eastern Kentucky Chapter Debbie Ranier (at back right), and SBP Disaster Recovery & Resilience Fellow Sara Hambrick
One family helped by Red Cross grant funds is Perry County flood survivor Tonya Smith and her young son, Caleb. Smith’s home near the Chavies community was destroyed by floodwaters in the early morning hours of July 28, 2022.
“It’s just hard to believe that water could do something that bad,” Smith said. “My dad watched the water pick my home up and wash it away. It stayed intact until it hit a tree. I’m just glad we were awake, were keeping an eye on it, and that we were able to get out this time.”
For more information about HDA’s Higher Ground plan, flood recovery efforts, and/or how to get involved or donate, please visit www.hdahome.org.
About Housing Development Alliance, Inc.
Serving Breathitt, Knott, Leslie, and Perry counties, the Housing Development Alliance (HDA) is a 30-year-old nonprofit housing developer that serves as lender, counselor, developer, and contractor for low-income persons in need of housing assistance. We work with multiple organizations within the federal, state, and local governments and in the private sector to help individuals break down barriers to access the resources they need to build financial stability through affordable housing. For more information, visit www.hdahome.org.
About The American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.