Kentucky lawmaker announces $3M allocation to build homes for flood victims

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Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) of the U.S. House of Representatives announced last week that $3 million has been allocated from the federal Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2024 to go toward the construction of homes for victims of flooding in eastern Kentucky that took place in July 2022.

The funding will be issued to the Housing Development Alliance (HDA), a nonprofit housing organization based in Hazard, Kentucky, which is situated in the center of four of the hardest-hit counties from the flooding.

According to a report that assesses the impact of the flooding, published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC), the flooding “exacerbated affordable housing shortages and pre-existing weaknesses in local labor markets” and “led to 39 fatalities and federal disaster area declarations for 13 eastern Kentucky counties.” As many as 8,950 homes were impacted by the flooding, which disproportionately impacted low-income residents.

“I have met many of the flood survivors who lost everything they had nearly two years ago,” Rogers said in a statement. “The effort to build new affordable homes for flood survivors has been met with labor and supply shortages, along with a lack of developed land to build new homes on.”

HDA will “build homes to be sold at appraised value and financed for home buyers through forgivable grants and loans,” according to the announcement.

“I was honored to secure $3 million to help the Housing Development Alliance build homes for families and individuals who need them the most,” Rogers stated. “It is my hope that these new affordable, safe homes will help flood survivors move forward with greater peace of mind.”

The HDA lauded the development and thanked Rogers for his work in securing the funding.

“We appreciate Congressman Rogers’ efforts to secure this funding that will help so many Eastern Kentucky families get into energy efficient, high quality, and long-lasting homes that will never flood,” HDA executive director Scott McReynolds said in a statement.

Rogers also secured an additional $500,000 in funding that will allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “to conduct a flood mitigation study spanning the entire Kentucky River and its watershed, a source of persistent flooding in Eastern Kentucky,” according to an announcement by his office.

Recently, housing has taken on more discussion in Congress and at the White House. During his State of the Union address last month, President Joe Biden outlined a plan that his administration hopes will lead to more affordable homeownership and rental costs while encouraging the construction of new housing supply.

Responses to the proposals by Republicans, who hold a narrow majority in the House, have been tepid. Much of the proposed agenda likely hinges on the outcome of the November general election in which both chambers of Congress and the White House are up for grabs.

But there are also recent indications of some bipartisan action on housing at the state and federal levels. Lawmakers from both parties insist that housing does not need to be a partisan political issue.

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