West Virginia Adjutant General’s update on RISE West Virginia; end of year status

CHARLESTON, W.Va. –  Since identifying deficiencies in the execution of the RISE West Virginia program, Gov. Jim Justice appointed Maj. Gen. James Hoyer to oversee the RISE West Virginia program on June 4, 2018. Since that time, numerous accomplishments have been achieved and include the following:

•    For the first time, a West Virginia family has been handed the keys to a new stick-built home today. That home, located in Greenbrier County, passed a final inspection this week by the WVNG’s Quality Assistance/Quality Control team, making it the program’s first completed home reconstruction project. The homeowners received their keys from Gov. Justice and representatives with construction contractor Appalachia Service Project (ASP) and West Virginia VOAD’s (WV VOAD) case management team at a ceremony today to commemorate the program milestone.

•    The West Virginia National Guard team utilized staff processes and procedures to evaluate the program status upon takeover on June 4, 2018, and identified the needs including outstanding cases and case management issues, duplication of benefits, environmental reviews, and communications.

•    Guard teams identified 452 outstanding homeowner and rental cases in the program. As of today, 43 cases have been completed where families have a new mobile home unit or stick built home. There are currently 406 outstanding cases remaining and of those, 170 cases require total reconstruction, 153 cases require some form of rehabilitation, and 83 cases require new mobile home unit replacement.

•    The case management program transitioned to WV VOAD in September. Since that time, a review of all cases in the program has taken place to ensure compliance with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) regulations and to verify eligibility. The WV VOAD case management team was expanded by more than 10 personnel in an effort to link every family in the RISE West Virginia program with a single, dedicated case manager. Communication and visibility with families in the program continue to be top priorities and WV VOAD case managers average 300 contacts with clients per week.

•    A re-bid of contracts for construction has been completed based on guidance given by HUD following a program review in July. These new contracts allow for construction on mobile home units, stick built houses, reconstruction projects, slum and blight demolition and the private bridge program.

•    Multiple sub-grant agreements have been signed to move the program forward with home reconstruction, rehabilitation, slum and blight demolition and private bridge construction to name a few.

•    Made several substantial and technical amendments to the Action Plan, while also streamlining the environmental review process and invoice processing with the State Auditor’s Office, ensuring the proper execution of the program and that it is done in the most expeditious time based on federal and state requirements.

•    Developed the structure for a State Resiliency Office in West Virginia that will internalize the processes and procedures of the RISE West Virginal program in the event of future disasters.

•    The Guard’s management teams have maintained constant communication with HUD representatives to ensure all program guidelines are followed. In addition, weekly updates have been provided on the program’s progress to media outlets and other interested parties, and regular communication established between municipal, county and state civic leaders. Case management and fraud hotlines were also established shortly after program takeover as a means of transparency for program participants.

•    To-date, a total of $11.4 million has been spent on behalf of the RISE West Virginia program. In December, the program was removed from the “slow spender” list designation by HUD, which only 26 percent of all HUD-funded disaster recovery projects across the country currently have this “On Pace” designation.

•    Officials with the West Virginia Legislative Auditor’s Office presented their final report on RISE WV during an interim meeting of the Post Audits Subcommittee on Dec. 9, 2018, and concluded that they had no recommendations for subcommittee members or for RISE WV project leaders to further improve the program at this time.

Sponsored Content
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com