Gov. Beshear Announces Record $223 Million To Build 953 Rental Homes in Communities Impacted by 2021 Tornadoes

Projects will support tornado recovery and economic development efforts

(FRANKFORT, Ky) June 3, 2024 – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the Kentucky Housing Corporation (KHC) will work together to build 953 affordable rental units in communities impacted by the 2021 tornadoes.

With a total investment of $223,179,093 to support 11 projects across Christian, Graves, Hopkins and Warren counties, this marks the single largest housing development undertaking in the history of the Department for Local Government (DLG) and the Kentucky Housing Corporation. The funds come from KHC and Kentucky’s Disaster Recovery Program, which is administered by DLG.

The development will comprise apartment complexes that will be income-restricted to moderate- and low-income households. Rents will be limited as well to keep units affordable for moderate- and low-income individuals and families. Most units will be 2-3 bedrooms, with a mix of 4 bedroom and single bedroom units.

“After the tornadoes hit Western Kentucky in 2021, we made a promise to rebuild every structure, home and life that was affected by those storms,” said Gov. Beshear. “This is a major step toward keeping our promise. These housing units are coming to areas that have needed affordable housing for a long time, and we will keep working to fill the housing needs across Kentucky.”

“This is an unprecedented effort,” said Winston Miller, KHC’s executive director and CEO. “KHC is thrilled to partner with DLG for this historic funding announcement that supports disaster recovery and job growth, increases affordable housing in Western Kentucky, and addresses the housing shortage in the region.”

The new rental units are greatly needed to help these counties recover from the tornadoes of 2021 and to support recent and future economic growth. In addition to recovering from those tornadoes, Gov. Beshear has announced that several employers locating and expanding in Western Kentucky, further necessitating new affordable housing units in the region.

The Commonwealth and KHC issued Notices of Funding Availability for Western Kentucky Disaster Recovery in late 2023. The massive response to those notices prompted the commonwealth and KHC to partner and seize an opportunity to bring nearly 1,000 rental units to Western Kentucky. The funding awards come from the following sources:

  • $134,601,971 in Tax-Exempt Bonds
  • $12,349,958 in projected Tax Credit Equity
  • $6,000,000 from the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME)
  • $1,000,000 from the Kentucky Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF)
  • $5,000,000 from the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF)
  • $4,500,000 from the Kentucky Rural Housing Trust Fund (RHTF)
  • $59,728,064 from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program (CDBG-DR)

Click here for a breakdown of the funds and total number of units by city and county.

The funds will go through the following developers:

  • Wabuck Development Co. Inc.;
  • SOCAYR, Inc. & Bywater Development Group LLC
  • LDG Multifamily LLC; and
  • AU Associates Inc.

Click here to see the locations and funding breakdown of the projects by developer.

Construction on these apartment complexes is expected to begin no later than spring of 2025. As construction comes closer to completion, eligible Kentuckians will be able to apply to lease these apartments.

“This tornado struck in the heart of our community,” said Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan. “This piece today, this multifamily, 122 units, that will be coming to our hometown, to house our people, is just heartwarming.”

“This is going to bring hope back to these communities,” said Gary Watkins, president of Wabuck Development. “We appreciate the Governor, his office and the Kentucky Housing Corporation. It’s an honor for us to be a part of this rebuild.”

“We are so pleased to see this day get here,” said Travis Yates, executive director of SOCAYR Inc. “We know it’s needed. We are excited to be a part of it.”

Disaster Recovery Efforts
Recovery efforts continue in the west and the east. Gov. Beshear announced housing projects for the east in March:

  • Letcher County Fiscal Court will use $8,707,500 to build 29 total homes in the communities of Seco and Uz. The project will also include the installation of infrastructure to support the new homes, including roads, water, sewer and electric. 
  • The city of Jackson will use $2,358,000 to build eight homes for flood survivors. 

$297,994,000 is available in funding from the 2022 Disaster Recovery program, which is being administered by the Department for Local Government. More housing announcements are expected in the coming months in the east.

In April, Gov. Beshear celebrated progress being made at a housing development in Wayland, which is in Floyd County. Eleven families are expected to move in this month.

Working to address immediate housing needs, the Team Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund continues to partially fund several homes being built on high ground. To date, the fund has provided over $1.4 million for 19 homes, including homes in Breathitt, Floyd, Knott, Letcher, Martin and Perry counties. These homes are being built in partnership with nonprofit builders, including HOMES Inc, Housing Development Alliance and Partnership Housing. 

Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund 
More than $21.6 million has been committed from the Team Western Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund to construct or repair 300 homes. To date, more than 200 homes have been built, are under construction or have been approved for construction to begin. Ninety-two of those are located in Graves County. Launched just days after the tornadoes in December 2021, the fund has raised over $52.3 million, with donations from over 150,000 individuals and businesses. In addition to building homes, the money raised helped pay funeral expenses for the families of the deceased and provided assistance to survivors as well as local farmers.