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'Bridge the Gap' program offers funds to Bowling Green area residents impacted by tornado

Rhonda J. Miller

As residents and business owners in south central Kentucky continue the long recovery from the December tornado, many are burdened with expenses not covered by emergency assistance or insurance.

The ‘Bridge the Gap’ program launched on May 4 with a video announcement by sponsor Houchens Industries.

In the aftermath of the December tornado that killed 17 people in Warren County and destroyed 500 homes and 100 businesses, many area residents have been left with major expenses.

Houchens Industries Chairman and CEO, Dion Houchins said the goal of ‘Bridge the Gap’ is to raise $1 million dollars.

“The best way for Houchens Industries to help with the tornado relief was to establish a fund that would bridge the gap between the cost that homeowners were going to face with replacement costs versus what their insurance covers, FEMA funds and what the state funds would provide," said Houchins. "We feel that it’s very, very important that these neighborhoods maintain their identity.”

"We feel that it’s very, very important that these neighborhoods maintain their identity.”
Dion Houchins, Chairman & CEO, Houchens Industries

Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ron Bunch said 'Bridge the Gap' is intended to make sure local residents impacted by the tornado remain in the area, or come back if they've been forced leave to temporarily stay with friends or relatives.

“Our community has been one of the fastest growing communities since 201, but our job growth has outstripped our population growth," said Bunch. "And so, every family, every individual is important to be here and remain in Bowling Green to help us fill up the jobs that then improve the quality of life of our community.”

‘Bridge the Gap’ is sponsored by Houchens Industries in partnership with many local businesses.

United Way of Southern Kentucky will administer the program through disaster case management.

Area residents can apply for financial assistance by calling 211 and asking for the 'Bridge the Gap' program. Southern Kentucky 211 is hosted by the United Way of Southern Kentucky and the calls will go directly to the Bowling Green office.

Information on the program is also available by calling 1-844-966-0906 or texting 898-211.

Copyright 2022 WKU Public Radio. To see more, visit WKU Public Radio.

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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