David Adkins Published

RISE Nears Completion While New Homeowners Face Insurance Issues

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Six years after the flooding disaster of 2016, West Virginia’s RISE flood relief program is finishing with its relief spending.

The West Virginia Department of Economic Development (DED) Community Advancement and Development (CAD) Division RISE program is funded by $149 million worth of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As of June 1st, RISE has spent $3,921,506.69 of its $6.8 million block grant disaster recovery budget. The funding was used to complete projects on 367 houses through their Housing Restoration & Rental Program and 46 bridges through their Bridge Home Program. According to Jennifer Ferrell, director of the West Virginia DED CAD Division, they plan to complete 20 more housing projects and eight more bridges.

RISE also completed 54 demolition projects out of a total of 80 to 90, through their Clearance and Demolition Program.

“We have elevated 22 percent of the houses out of the floodplain and provided flood insurance for some of our applicants,” Ferrell said.

RISE received $106 million from HUD for their mitigation projects.

“HUD defines mitigation as those activities that increase resilience to disasters, lessen the impact of future disasters, and reduce or eliminate long term risk of life and injury, damage to or loss of property and suffering and hardship,” Ferrell said.

Over $65 million was awarded to 18 projects, including two water treatment plants, two dams, one sanitary sewer relocation, nine stormwater projects and four planning projects.

RISE is accepting their second group of applications for mitigation projects through June 30. Municipalities, counties, state agencies, nonprofits, and non governmental organizations are eligible to apply for mitigation funding.

When Del. Dean Jeffries, R-Kanawha, asked Ferrell whether or not RISE homeowners could afford flood insurance, she indicated that she doesn’t have the data, but she does “guesstimate” that the amount has tripled.

“If there’s ever another disaster, they cannot receive any type of federal dollars,” Ferrell said when Jeffries asked about the consequences of not paying flood insurance.

The West Virginia RISE plans to finish their disaster recovery projects by the end of September.

RISE’s disaster recovery projects, you can visit www.wvfloodrecovery.com. For more information on their mitigation projects, you can visit https://wvcad.org/infrastructure.