Issues & Answers: Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky CEO Gerry Roll talks need for legislative support in flood recovery

Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 3:52 PM EST
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HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT) - On this week’s Issues & Answers, Steve Hensley is joined by the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky CEO Gerry Roll.

In 2022, the foundation provided nearly seven and a half million dollars in grants to flood survivors, and gave out four million dollars in checks immediately following the flood.

“$7,500 hundred checks, to people, to individuals. We didn’t ask them to prove they were poor, we didn’t ask them to prove their homes was flooded, we didn’t. We just asked them for information so we would have the data,” said Roll.

Roll says they have been collecting data from applications, and by doing surveys and listening sessions in EKY communities, trying to find what flood-ravaged communities need most.

“People lost everything, up to their family members. It’s terrible,” she said. “So we are looking at everything that people have told us that they need.”

The Foundation has recently released a report highlighting some of the biggest needs in the community. Mold remediation, vehicle replacement, and HVAC repairs are some of the biggest needs for flood victims, but roll says the main need is still housing.

“We feel like there are 5,000 households in our region that desperately need a home, a place to either repair their home, move their home, or find a new home,” she said.

Now, Roll says it’s up to the legislature to step up and provide the funds, so local groups can go to work.

“We can say to the legislature ‘we need a $150 million allocation right now into the Kentucky Housing Corporation, into the affordable Housing Trust Fund, for recovery.’ This is a legislative solution that could get us started right now,” she said. “If they say yes, then those housing groups could go out and start hiring people.”

The report from the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky also said mental health services will be an important part of the long-term flood recovery.