CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – Construction crews with Appalachia Service Project (ASP) are putting the final touches on RISE West Virginia’s first stick-built home reconstruction project, as work has begun painting the interior walls and installing trim on the home in Greenbrier County.
Officials with ASP say electricians and plumbers are on-schedule to complete their work setting up the home’s utilities by next week, at which point the home will be ready for a final inspection. Once the home passes this inspection, we will be able to turn over the keys to the homeowners.
One more new mobile home has passed a final inspection by the WVNG’s Quality Assistance/Quality Control team and is now considered “construction complete.” This brings the total number of completed cases to 40.
The number of outstanding homeowner cases has decreased to 409. A breakdown of the nature of those cases is as follows: 171 cases require total reconstruction, 153 cases require some form of rehabilitation, and 85 cases require new mobile home unit replacement.
There are a total of 20 properties that are still in-construction under the original contracts.
We also have an update on the amount of federal grant funding that has been utilized through the RISE WV program. To-date, a total of $11 million has been spent. Of that amount, about $8 million has been spent since the end of September this year.
Last week, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) removed West Virginia from its “Slow Spender” list of grant recipients and re-categorized the program as “On Pace” in regards to spending. Only 26 percent of all HUD-funded disaster recovery projects across the country currently have this “On Pace” designation.
While re-housing families remains our first priority, additional activities within RISE WV are now set to begin as well.
This week, the public comment period concluded for both the Slum and Blight Demolition and the Bridge Home programs in Kanawha County. This means work will soon begin demolishing dilapidated structures and rebuilding community bridges in Kanawha County that were damaged in the storm on June 23, 2016. We are in the process of finalizing the same programs in all of the remaining declared counties that are eligible for assistance through RISE WV.
We continue to work with our municipal, county, and state partners, including those from West Virginia’s State Resiliency Office, to develop and enhance other RISE WV initiatives, such as the Restore Riverview Project, which will soon allow us to begin rehabilitating the Riverview apartment complex in Clendenin.
Officials with the West Virginia Legislative Auditor’s Office are set to present their final report on RISE WV during an interim meeting of the Post Audits Subcommittee on Sunday, Dec. 9. Details of this final report will be provided next week.
We remain active in the process of identifying families who are living in the worst conditions. We encourage our partners in the media and general public to let us know if they identify people who are in severe need of assistance so we may follow up and help prioritize cases.
Any families who feel they still have any unmet needs or who are looking for an update on their case are urged to contact the new VOAD office over the phone at 304-553-0927 or through email at DisasterRecovery@wv.gov. A hotline is also available for anyone needing to report fraud with regard to the RISE West Virginia program at 1-866-WVWATCH (1-866-989-2824).