Gov. Beshear: Eastern Kentucky Disaster Recovery Aid Helping Address Housing Needs

Government and Politics

June 6, 2024

From: Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear

First occupants preparing to move to high ground communities

FRANKFORT, KY - Gov. Andy Beshear continues to lead both short- and long-term recovery efforts in Eastern Kentucky following the historic flooding of 2022 while addressing the No. 1 need in the area: housing.

“We made a promise to our neighbors who lost so much in those floods that we’d be with them for every step of this recovery,” said Gov. Beshear. “We continue to celebrate good news while working toward fulfilling our promise of a stronger, rebuilt and reimagined Eastern Kentucky. We recognize how far we’ve come and remain committed to keeping our promise to our people.”

Gov. Beshear announced that Team Kentucky has partnered with Fahe to support local communities rebuilding from the floods of 2021 and 2022 in Eastern Kentucky. Fahe will help Kentuckians navigate the application process for homeownership, allowing flood victims to secure permanent housing.

Kentuckians impacted by the floods of 2021 or 2022, are encouraged to visit housingcantwait.org and fill out an interest questionnaire. 

“We are pleased that Fahe has been selected by Team Kentucky as a technical assistance and grants management advisor,” Pam Johnson, Fahe’s senior vice president of partnerships and programs, shared. “We are looking forward to working with local communities to support them as they rebuild from the devastating floods of 2021 and 2022.”

In total, Housing Can’t Wait partners have built 63 homes, and 270 homes have received major rehabilitation (333 total completed homes) since 2022.

“I’m happy to hear that the commonwealth has contracted with Fahe to support local government as we work toward housing development and recovery,” said Laura Thomas, mayor of Jackson. “Fahe has the resources, they have the expertise, to help with housing.”

Housing Development Alliance Celebrates 100th Completed Home
On Wednesday, Gov. Beshear joined local leaders and nonprofit home builder Housing Development Alliance (HDA) in Chavies to present keys to a new home to flood survivor Melissa Neace. The celebration marked HDA’s 100th flood survivor to receive keys to a new home or receive significant repairs. HDA has completed 23 new homes and 77 home rehabs since the 2022 flooding.

Neace is moving, with her two teenage daughters, from an emergency management trailer into her new home.

“The camper is small, but we’ve just been grateful to have a roof over our heads,” Neace said. “It’s been such a blessing. It’s been hard to hang on through all of this, but the thought of having a new home has given me what I needed to keep hanging on.”

The home received funding from the Rural Housing Trust Fund.

Communities on Higher Ground
To address long-term housing needs, Gov. Beshear has announced seven high-ground communities in four counties. Together, the seven communities will bring over 500 new homes to the area.

Gov. Beshear and Team Kentucky’s commitment to these high-ground communities remains “until every home and every life is rebuilt.”

The high-ground communities are funded by multiple sources including Eastern Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies, Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief, Appalachian Regional Commission and U.S. Department of Agriculture Disaster Relief funds.

Homes built on the sites for flood survivors will receive partial funding from the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund.

Key updates on the high-ground communities include:

The Cottages at Thompson Branch in Letcher County has infrastructure in place and two homes are on-site. Work continues at the site with eight additional homes being built in partnership with HOMES Inc. Together, 10 homes will be available for flood survivors at Thompson Branch.

At the 4-acre site formerly owned by the Wayland Volunteer Fire Department, 11 homes are getting interior and exterior finishes and families are preparing to move into newly constructed homes in June and July. First breaking ground in October, this project is the quickest to occupancy in partnership with Appalachia Service Project.

Also in Floyd County, New Hope Estates has partnered with Mountain Housing to construct 33 new homes and rehab one home to assist flood survivors. Engineering is ongoing and a groundbreaking is expected this summer.

The master plan for Chestnut Ridge in Knott County includes up to 147 homes. Ground and environmental reviews are complete. Water, sewer and road designs are complete. Water and sewer line installation and construction on the first section of the access road will begin in June.

The master plan for Grand View in Letcher County includes up to 116 homes on 92 acres originally owned by the Johnson family. The ground review is complete, and an environmental review is underway. Funding applications for water and sewer projects are being submitted to U.S. Department of Agriculture Disaster Relief.

The master plan for Skyview in Perry County includes up to 102 homes on 50 acres originally owned by the Ison family. Ground and environmental reviews are complete, and an access road is under construction.

The master plan for Olive Branch, in Knott County, includes up to 132 homes on approximately 77 acres originally owned by Shawn and Tammy Adams. Ground and environmental reviews are complete. Right of way plans are in development for an initial access road.

The Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund continues to partially fund individual homes being built on high ground. To date, the fund has provided over $1.9 million for 25 homes, including homes in Breathitt, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Martin, Owsley and Perry counties. These homes are being built in partnership with nonprofit builders, including HOMES Inc, Housing Development Alliance, Partnership Housing and Frontier Housing.