Funds available to help communities recover from 2021 natural disasters
FRANKFORT, Ky. (April 26, 2023) – Gov. Andy Beshear announced Wednesday that beginning May 1, more than $123 million will be available to communities impacted by the 2021 tornadoes in the West and flooding in the East to build homes, rental properties and multifamily rental properties.
The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated Kentucky funds from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery appropriation. Under the Disaster Recovery program, the four counties most impacted and distressed by the 2021 weather events – Graves, Warren, Hopkins and Breathitt – will receive 80% of the funds. The other 20% of funding will help an additional 36 counites also impacted by 2021 weather events.
“Today, we’re taking a big step forward in helping our neighbors who were impacted by the tornadoes and the floods of 2021,” Gov. Beshear said. “Early estimates indicate that funds will go toward the construction of 600 housing units statewide. That means new homes, repaired homes and apartments. This money is going to help us do many amazing things here in Kentucky.”
Applications can be completed by eligible cities, counties, nonprofits, for-profits and other governmental entities. These groups will be conducting public outreach to make sure they are meeting housing needs in their impacted communities.
Gov. Beshear was joined by Mayor Kathy O’Nan of Mayfield, Mayor Laura Thomas of Jackson, and Hopkins County Judge/Executive Jack Whitfield for today’s announcement.
“Except for the loss of lives, which can never be regained, homes were our greatest loss. They can be rebuilt, but it takes a lot of time, and it takes a lot of funding,” said Mayor O’Nan. “And so, for these applications being able to be accepted so soon is so exciting. What a wonderful day to be in Frankfort and to stand in the Rotunda of this Capitol and to be able to really realize what’s headed our way.”
Mayor Thomas said, “This is funding that we have desperately needed. We appreciate that the Governor has been in Jackson and seen what the people are going through. We have a great need for housing and the infrastructure to support it. So, these funds will be utilized wisely. We appreciate all of the legislators on the state and federal level that voted to approve this funding. It’s a sad situation, but we’re trying to see that we come out of it better, stronger and we appreciate you being there along the way.”
“It is overwhelming the events and destruction we have seen across Kentucky. This funding is going to be used to keep bringing us forward and to continue the great economic developments years that we have had,” said Judge Whitfield. “This is going to make sure we continue that growth, and that Kentucky will be better than it’s ever been because of events like this.”
The program will be administered by the Department for Local Government and the applications will be available on their website starting May 1. Questions about the program can be sent to DLG.DR@ky.gov.
“We have been working on this for two years,” said Commissioner Dennis Keene of the Department for Local Government. “We’re proud to be able to help so many Kentuckians in need.”
In a couple of weeks, the Governor said he would be announcing the application process for the 2022 floods in Eastern Kentucky. Earlier this year, HUD announced nearly $300 million will come to Kentucky to recover from those floods.
“I am confident these funds will be available in record time,” Gov. Beshear said. “Combined, these funds will contribute to the work we have already been doing through donations made to the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund and the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief funds.”
Through the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund and the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief funds, over $26 million has been committed to building homes in the East and the West.
The state has worked with nonprofit building partners – Habitat for Humanity, Homes and Hope, the Mayfield-Graves Fuller Center for Housing, Fuller Center Disaster ReBuilders, the Hope Initiative, Mayfield Graves Long-Term Recovery Group, Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, Housing Development Alliance and HOMES Inc. – and 74 homes have been completed or are under construction.
“That’s 74 individuals and families with a new home and a new start,” Gov. Beshear said. “This is being accomplished by people, many of whom are volunteers, working toward a better Kentucky. These efforts show the true spirit of Team Kentucky.”
The governor also has announced new high-ground communities in the East in response to the 2022 floods, and the administration continues to get these sites build-ready while evaluating additional building sites for similar projects.