Eastern Kentucky’s Housing Organizations Are Grateful, But Still Need More, Says Fahe Member HDA’s Executive Director

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Recently, HDA’s Executive Director Scott McReynolds was interviewed by Bluegrass Live about the Eastern Kentucky flood recovery, bringing his unique perspective around the recovery efforts as a long-term, on the ground leader from the region. 

While Kentucky housing organizations are sincerely grateful for the first round of Rural Housing Trust Fund Awards that have been announced, McReynolds was vocal that more is still needed. McReynolds reflects on the broken housing market that was exacerbated by the flood in 2022. He estimates how many houses are needed, stating, “So I think as a region, we’re going to need to be thinking about replacing 3,000 housing units.”

In the article, McReynolds summarizes four specific asks the state’s housing organizations have of the government. They are:

  • State and federal organizations should recognize temporary solutions for what they are and provide resources for the people who are “making do” so they can find permanent homes.
  • Find more local, community-based housing solutions alongside higher ground communities.
  • Refund the Rural Housing Trust Fund at higher than $10 million.
  • Ask the state to add to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Housing Development Alliance (HDA) is a longstanding community leader serving Hazard, Kentucky and the surrounding areas. A locally-based nonprofit, HDA is on the ground in the communities they serve, giving them insight to the local need, market demand, and existing capacities. They provide a variety of services that build thriving Appalachian communities, including housing solutions, community redevelopment, and alternatives to payday lending through their CDFI, Redbud Financial Alternatives.

HDA’s housing experience and deep community ties have proven crucial to the flood recovery in Eastern Kentucky, where they are a recognized leader in the long-term efforts to rebuild their service area back better than before. 

Eastern Kentucky already faced a significant housing crisis, with a large portion of the population living on an annual household income of less than $25,000. This has resulted in a broken housing market, characterized by a lack of affordable starter and entry-level homes. These existing issues have been exacerbated as thousands of households were left displaced by the 2022 flood.

HDA, alongside Fahe, HOMES Inc., Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky, and Frontier Housing created the concept which would become the Housing Can’t Wait initiative to address and raise awareness about the immediate need for single-family homes for victims of the flood. Housing Can’t Wait partners have built 30 new homes with 123 homes in the pipeline and performed major rehabilitation on 215 homes, with 111 rehabilitations in the pipeline since 2022.

Scott McReynolds’s interview, including more details about the four key takeaways he believes the government needs to know to ensure Eastern Kentucky families can recover and thrive can be read here: https://www.bluegrasslive.com/2023/10/24/road-to-recovery-affordable-housing-remains-top-issue-in-eky-flooding-aftermath/

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