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HUD awards $123M to Kentucky for disaster recovery program

Damage is visible from a tornado in Dawson Springs, Kentucky.
Jeff Dean
Dawson Springs, Kentucky was one of the western Kentucky communities hit during the December 2021 tornado outbreak. Gov. Andy Beshear announced today a new disaster relief program that will use $123 million in HUD funds to help communities in western and central Kentucky impacted by the 2021 tornado outbreak and communities in eastern Kentucky impacted by the 2021 floods with housing and infrastructure costs.

Kentucky is receiving $123 million from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to launch a disaster recovery program related to the 2021 floods in eastern Kentucky and the 2021 tornado outbreak in western Kentucky.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced the program during a press conference Wednesday.

Under the terms of the program, 80% of the funds will go to the four counties most impacted by those two 2021 natural disasters: Graves, Warren, Hopkins and Breathitt. The remaining 20% of the funding will be split between 36 counties to aid recovery efforts for both disasters.

“Today, we're taking a big step forward and helping our neighbors who are impacted by the tornadoes of 2021 and the floods of 2021. Many lost their homes, some lost everything that they owned,” Beshear said.

The governor said, according to early estimates, around 600 housing units will be constructed from these funds.

Hopkins County Judge-Executive Jack Whitfield also spoke during the press conference. He said this program would help rebuild homes in Dawson Springs, where 19 people died in the December 2021 tornado outbreak and up to 75% of housing was estimated to have been destroyed.

“We're seeing rebuilding all in Dawson Springs, but there's so many that can't get there from where they are right now,” Whitfield said. “So this funding is going to take care and help those, so much, who may not be able to otherwise afford a new house.”

Kentucky’s Department for Local Government will start accepting applications on May 1 for the program. Cities, counties, nonprofits, for-profits and other government agencies can apply for funds to build houses, rental properties and new multifamily structures.

On June 1, the Department for Local Government will start accepting applications for public infrastructure such as roads and bridges. Beshear said there is no deadline for the applications.

Hannah Saad is the Assistant News Director for WKMS. Originally from Michigan, Hannah earned her bachelor’s degree in news media from The University of Alabama in 2021. Hannah moved to western Kentucky in the summer of 2021 to start the next chapter of her life after graduation. Prior to joining WKMS in March 2023, Hannah was a news reporter at The Paducah Sun. Her goal at WKMS is to share the stories of the region from those who call it home. Outside of work, Hannah enjoys exploring local restaurants, sports photography, painting, and spending time with her fiancé and two dogs.
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