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RISE West Virginia comes closer to completing homes for flooded residents

West Virginia is coming closer to the long-sought goal of replacing hundreds of homes for people washed out in the devastating 2016 flood.

Jennifer Ferrell

Through the end of August, 329 housing projects have been completed, said Jennifer Ferrell, director of community advancement and development for the state.

That represents the completion of 84 percent of the housing projects in the RISE West Virginia program, she told legislators.

“We feel good that we’re still on our progress for the end of the year,” said Ferrell, describing a goal of completing the housing work by the conclusion of 2021.

Ferrell was speaking before the Joint Legislative Committee on Funding during interim meetings Sunday afternoon.

The ongoing effort represents the restoration of housing for hundreds of families who lost their homes in the historic 2016 flood. The state first gained authority from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to begin using the federal funding in February 2018.

West Virginia has spent $74,735,982 of the available community development block grants for disaster relief. That is about half of what the state received. The total spending represents not just what is being spent on housing but also on a range of additional flood relief projects.

Some of the remaining work is already on solid ground. Ferrell said.

Sixty-one remaining housing projects are under contract already, she said. Of those, 46 have received official noticed to proceed and are under construction.

The other 15 have been determined to be unsafe for restoration on their original property and require acquisition of land, she said.

Stephen Baldwin

RISE West Virginia has been making steady progress after a bumpy couple of years.

The last time the committee met in April, there were 102 active cases remaining. In March 2020, there were still 279 active cases for people awaiting housing.

“RISE has made tremendous progress over the last few years. That’s wonderful,” said Senate Minority Leader Stephen Baldwin, D-Greenbrier. “The program has been active.”





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