CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Gov. Jim Justice called an 11:30 a.m. news conference today to address concerns over the RISE West Virginia long-term flood relief program.
Complaints have become increasingly public during the past couple of weeks about the pace at which RISE has administered millions of dollars in long-term flood relief from the federal government.
Within that broader issue, have been questions about why the Governor’s Office halted a contract with a consultant tasked with managing the federal dollars.
West Virginia RISE in the Department of Commerce in the Justice administration is the state agency designated to manage Community Development Block Grants for disaster relief authorized by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The official kickoff for RISE was last Aug. 2. “The funds from the RISE program will help West Virginians get back on their feet and on the path to recovery,” Governor Justice stated in a news release announcing the start of the program.
But more time passed.
West Virginia made its request to start using the money this past Jan. 29. HUD gave its OK on Feb. 20.
Of the $149,875,000 West Virginia has available, the state still has $148,736,333 left on hand.
Some of that money is supposed to go to economic development efforts, some to rebuild infrastructure and a big hunk to help residents with housing.
Aside from a press release last week in which the governor said the RISE program was getting up and running again, this was the first time the administration has addressed issues with long-term relief.
This is all in response to a flood that hit West Virginia on June 23, 2016. Some counties were hit with 10 inches of rain over 24 hours.
Twenty-three people were killed. There were 1,200 homes destroyed, and thousands were without power. The flood damaged businesses, roads and water and sewer systems.
Here’s a timeline of what’s happened on long-term relief: