KENTUCKY (FOX 56) – Temporary housing is arriving in eastern Kentucky and more is on the way. On Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear joined local leaders in Perry and Floyd counties as some of the first travel trailers arrived in those communities.
“We’re going to be here every single month and every single year it takes to rebuild,” Beshear said in Perry County where 41 new trailers had arrived to give a stable place to stay for displaced families.
“We have hundreds of people on the waiting list for temporary housing, many of whom are sleeping in tents, vehicles, damaged homes with mold rapidly growing along the walls,” Rep. Hal Rogers said.
Dennis Gross is one of those flood victims with tents up outside his home. His brothers are staying in two of them, partially to ensure looters do not trespass in the area. He like so many others have been frustrated over a delay in direct aid. He hopes to get a trailer to shelter his mom.
“We was promised this, promised that. I’m a veteran, I know how it goes. There’s a lot of red tape any time you do anything that fool with the government. So, I figured it was going to be a month or two, I didn’t know it was going to be like this,” Gross said.
The space is limited with over 900 families currently applied to the Commonwealth Sheltering Program. After a generous gift from Louisiana, as many as 300 trailers will soon be set up across eastern Kentucky.
Gov. Beshear said there is no limit as to how long families may stay in the trailers. Teams will be checking in month to month in hopes of finding more permanent options, but he said many families are likely to stay in them for as long as a year.
“This is not the long-term solution. Twenty years from now we don’t want to see eastern Kentucky residents living in them,” Beshear said.
But as the region recovers, State Sen. Brandon Smith (R-Hazard) is concerned some flood victims won’t move back to the area. He wants to prioritize moving people into permanent housing to avoid a mass migration of people from the region.
“I don’t want my district to be the trailer park capital of the world. I think people deserve better than that a lot of people lost beautiful homes and I want them to know this is just a segue to get them back in that beautiful home,” Smith said.