Kentucky Governor Unveils Rental Housing Projects for Region, Real Estate News, ET RealEstate

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FRANKFORT: Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Monday that a shortage of rental housing has been gnawing at him since the recovery began from a terrifying tornado outbreak that hit western parts of the state in late 2021.

The Bluegrass State took an unprecedented step toward easing its chronic shortage Monday as the Democratic governor unveiled plans to build 953 rental units in four of the region’s counties: Christian, Graves, Hopkins and Warren.

“For a city to not only survive but thrive, affordable housing is critical,” Beshear said. “And for all those survivors who might not have owned their homes, who might not have qualified for certain FEMA or other insurance financing, there was a gap. And admittedly, it was a gap that kept me up at night.”

The $223 million project was the result of a partnership between the state’s housing finance agency, the Kentucky Housing Corp., and the state Department for Local Government. The money comes from KHC and from the state’s disaster recovery program, administered by the local government department. It will be the largest housing project undertaken by either agency, the governor’s office said.

Winston Miller, executive director and CEO of KHC, called it an “unprecedented effort” to support disaster recovery and increase access to affordable housing in western Kentucky.

The funding will flow to private developers who will build apartment complexes, making units available to middle- and low-income families. Rents will be kept affordable and most units will be 2-3 bedrooms, with a mix of 4-bedroom and one-bedroom units, Beshear’s office said.

Construction is expected to begin no later than spring 2025, his office said. Once construction gets closer to completion, eligible Kentuckians can apply to lease the apartments.

122 rental homes will be built in hard-hit Mayfield. The Graves County city was hit by the December 2021 tornado. The massive storm uprooted the lives of some of the city’s “most vulnerable,” who are still struggling, said Mayor Kathy O’Nan, who joined Beshear for the announcement.

“These units will house individuals and families who have suffered enough and have continued to reside in Mayfield and continue to help us rebuild that community,” the mayor said.

The funding will support eleven projects in the four provinces. Fast-growing Bowling Green will receive the largest share of rental units: 635, the governor said. Elsewhere, Dawson Springs will get 88 units, Hopkinsville 76 and Madisonville 32, he said.

Another tornado struck part of Hopkins County over Memorial Day weekend, moving through an area of ​​Barnsley affected by the 2021 tornado outbreak.

Beshear said Monday that more rental units are also needed to meet housing demand due to the state’s record-breaking economic development growth.

He spent much of his time as governor leading the state’s recovery from staggering weather disasters: the tornadoes in western Kentucky, followed by massive flooding in eastern Kentucky. The tornado outbreak in late 2021 killed 81 people in Kentucky and caused extensive damage.

On Monday, Beshear recalled his pledge to rebuild every life as he surveyed tornado damage.

“Since that day, we have worked hard to deliver on that promise,” the governor said Monday. “We will remain there until this job is completed.”

Beshear has attended ceremonies presenting keys to new homes to families left homeless by the tornadoes. A relief fund set up by the governor has helped build new homes. As a result, more than 200 have been built, under construction or approved to begin construction.

Meanwhile, recovery continues in parts of Eastern Kentucky that were inundated by massive flooding in the summer of 2022. Beshear has announced a series of housing projects in the region, and more projects are expected to be announced, his office said.

  • Published on June 4, 2024 at 5:00 PM IST

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