Partnership Unveils "Big Idea" for Post-Flood Housing

HDA & H.O.M.E.S, Inc. to build multiple homes for East KY flood survivors

HAZARD, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2022) – Officials with the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky (FAKY) as well as its partners and funders are calling it a plan that cannot wait.

FAKY and Fahe have joined forces with the Housing Development Alliance (HDA) and HOMES, Inc., both nonprofit affordable housing developers, to build 16 new homes for survivors of the recent flooding. Four new homes will be built in each of the region’s hardest hit counties – Breathitt, Knott, Letcher, and Perry, with HOMES constructing 4 homes in Letcher County and HDA building the other 12 in Breathitt, Knott, and Perry.

The announcement was made public for the first time at Saturday’s Appalachian Big Ideas Festival hosted by FAKY and Appalachians for Appalachia.

These homes will be sold to flood survivors whose homes were destroyed or significantly damaged by the July flood. Since HDA and HOMES, Inc. either own or have site control on all the lots where the homes will be located, construction will begin immediately.

HDA carpenters dig the first footer for a new home in its Blue Sky Subdivision in Chavies (northern Perry County), KY. The home will house a survivor of the July flood.

“We know how to do this. We’ve been implementing a smart affordable housing program across the region for decades. Now, we are coming together as a community to build these next 16 homes and to challenge the governor and our legislature to step up and allocate the funding we need for the next 1,600, because housing can’t wait.”

- Gerry Roll, CEO of Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky Tweet

Billed as “a 3-day experience of storytelling, arts and culture, and community building,” the Appalachian Big Ideas Festival presented the perfect setting for the launch of this ambitious plan. The housing plan, called “Higher Ground,” is being supported by a $50,000 investment from Fahe and $1.23 million from FAKY.

Officials said the goal of this partnership is to create high quality homes that will provide all the benefits of homeownership to flood survivors and the community. The homes will be:

“We want this plan to benefit the local community in as many ways as possible,” said HDA Executive Director Scott McReynolds. “One of those benefits will be to the local economy. Materials will be purchased from local businesses in the flood-impacted areas, and the homes are being built by carpenters and local subcontractors employed by HDA and HOMES.”

McReynolds noted 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.

“Of course, we’re trying to help people who have lost everything, so keeping these homes affordable is key,” he went on to say. “The homes will be sold at their appraised value, but much of the financing 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.”

Flood survivors will be expected to use FEMA awards for housing towards the purchasing of the 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 and HOMES will work with potential homeowners to secure other flood-based housing assistance to further enhance affordability.

HDA began construction on the first 2 homes in Perry County on Wed., Sept. 28, exactly 2 months after the flood. Also on Wed., HOMES broke ground on the first home built in Letcher County for a flood survivor through this partnership.

Flood survivors in Breathitt, Knott, and Perry counties who are interested in purchasing one of the new, affordable homes can apply online at the link below. For questions about the homes, call the HDA office at 606-436-0497 or email rebekah@hdahome.org.
For flood survivors in Letcher County and portions of Knott, Floyd, Pike, and Harlan counties who are interested in owning a new home, contact HOMES, Inc. at 606-632-1717 or email chris.combs@homesinc.work.
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