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FEMA officials seek to ease concerns over eligibility for flood assistance

The spot where a house once stood in Breathitt County
Stu Johnson
The spot where a house once stood in Breathitt County

It’s been just over two weeks since massive flooding resulted in 39t deaths and damaged hundreds of homes in eastern Kentucky. Federal officials Monday sought to ease concerns about eligibility for assistance.

On more than one occasion Governor Beshear has expressed concern about federal denials when it comes to housing assistance. FEMA officials say 63% of requests have been approved. FEMA Coordinating Officer Brett Howard said denials are often not the final word.

“Some have filed or submitted incorrect paperwork and we need to get with them to fix their applications and walk them through the process,” said Howard.

FEMA noted some denials have come when the damage is not found to a primary residence or applications from outside the designated disaster region. The maximum $37,900 in housing assistance has already gone to more than 170 flood survivors.

Howard said efforts are being made to connect with flood victims to help with housing assistance applications.

“The challenge here is communications and the lay of the land with the valleys and the hollers that are here in Kentucky, it makes communication and getting up with survivors very difficult so we’re going the extra mile and making sure we can get up with those individuals and those survivors,” said Howard.

Governor Beshear said Monday he’s talked with FEMA leadership and is pleased to hear more steps are being taken to help flood victims.

Stu has been reporting for WEKU for more than 35 years. His primary beat is Lexington/Fayette government.
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