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Travel trailers to provide temporary housing in flood-ravaged eastern Kentucky

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Justin Hicks
/
WFPL News

Over 400 travel trailers are heading for eastern Kentucky, where they will serve as temporary housing for flood survivors awaiting FEMA assistance to rebuild their homes.

Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards announced an agreement in which the state of Louisiana will donate up to 300 travel trailers originally acquired to aid Hurricane Ida survivors.

The commonwealth also moved 119 travel trailers from western Kentucky, where they were used to shelter survivors of the December 2021 tornadoes.

The travel trailers are being provided as part of the Commonwealth Sheltering Program, which was first established following last year’s tornadoes. Flood survivors can register for a trailer by visiting the governor’s flood resources website.

“We have moved 380 people to 129 travel trailers,” Beshear said of the state’s progress so far. “But the limiting factor right now is not our access to trailers, it’s safe locations to water and power that need to be hooked up.”

Beshear also clarified that news reports saying there was a 60-90 day limit to stay in trailers were inaccurate, and that there would be a 30-day check-in on survivors in travel trailers.

“Anybody in a travel trailer right now, they should take it from me: They’re OK. We’re going to make sure that they’ve got that place for the months or even years that it takes to ultimately get them in permanent housing,” he said.

The governor acknowledged that FEMA awards for many have been meager so far, between $179 and $195 on average. However, he clarified the amount wasn’t a final award and that it was for contractors to provide an estimate of repairs.

“FEMA hasn’t been communicating this properly. I wish the process wasn’t like that. I don’t like that process,” Beshear said. “But if you get just 100 and something dollars, make sure you’re communicating with FEMA, because most likely that is to pay somebody to come out and inspect, estimate your damage.”

He noted that intermediate housing was the immediate need and that it could take months or even years for people to move out of travel trailers to rebuild. In western Kentucky, for example, 68 travel trailers are still occupied by tornado survivors.

During last week’s special legislative session, state Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, proposed an amendment to the flood relief bill, attempting to add $50 million for housing. While the measure failed to make the final cut, GOP Senate President Robert Stivers, of Manchester, said the legislature would eventually consider more permanent solutions for housing.

Divya Karthikeyan is the Capitol reporter for the Kentucky Public Radio Network, a collaborative of stations including WFPL-Louisville, WEKU-Richmond, WKYU-Bowling Green and WKMS-Murray.
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