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Hopkins County first to receive SAFE Funds from state

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Governor Andy Beshear
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Hopkins County will receive $8.5 million from West Kentucky State Aid Funding for Emergencies to help with the ongoing recovery from the devastating December tornado outbreak.

The funds come from Senate Bill 150 which the General Assembly passed and Governor Andy Beshear signed. Beshear announced Thursday that Hopkins County would be the first group to receive these funds and Kentucky Emergency Management anticipates nearly 20 applications for the fund will be forthcoming.

“Our western Kentucky communities are strong, but they need our help as they continue to recover and rebuild following the tornadoes that took so much from them last December,” Beshear said in the press release. “These funds will help Hopkins County cover services that are not eligible for FEMA support and will ease some of the financial strain they have endured as so many of their resources have been directed toward restoration.”

The bill makes more than $120.8 million available for emergency management organizations so that eligible groups such as cities, counties and utilities can apply for financial support. In Hopkins County, the funds will go towards the cost of debris assistance that can’t be paid with Federal Emergency Management Agency funds.

“This act will help provide funding for the county to continue to move forward in our rebuilding process,” Hopkins County Judge/Executive Jack Whitfield said in the press release. “In a day when all too often politics gets in the way of getting work done, I am pleased that our state has come together to assist all of the counties that have seen so much devastation.”

State emergency management is meeting with groups eligible for funding and providing assistance with the application process. KYEM officials say they are grateful for the opportunity to provide additional aid to impacted communities.

Other bills passed by the General Assembly and approved by Beshear to help tornado survivors provided funding for medium-term housing and assisted tornado-impacted schools.

Lily Burris is a tornado recovery reporter for WKMS, Murray State's NPR Station. Her nine month reporting project is supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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