By Maj. Holli Nelson
| West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs | June 7, 2019
A home in Rainelle, West Virginia, under construction through the Rise West Virginia program is photographed May 28, 2019. (Courtesy photo) (Photo by Courtesy Photo)
West Virginia National Guard's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. James Hoyer, issues the following update on RISE West Virginia's case management status:
This week, crews continue to make progress on the 25 homes that are in active construction for the RISE West Virginia program, and the three homes that are in the demolition phase. Of the 25 homes in construction, 17 are mobile home replacements, eight are reconstruction projects with an additional three demolition projects that will be reconstructions.
The eight reconstruction projects are at various stages in the construction process including footers being poured, drainage installation, and interior work on electrical, mechanical and windows on numerous cases. Five other projects have had building permits approved and are awaiting homeowners to move out in the coming weeks before demolition and construction can begin.
The 17 mobile home replacement projects are also at various stages in the construction process with one home awaiting septic system installation before it moves to a final inspection and numerous others had footers installed, block laid and water/septic systems installed this week. Eight other projects have had building permits approved and are awaiting homeowners to move out in the coming weeks before construction can begin.
There are 63 other reconstruction and mobile home unit replacement projects at varying points in the initial construction phase, including permitting, inspections and asbestos abatement. There are 18 other projects awaiting signed homeowner agreements to move forward in the construction process. We have received 96 completed environmental reviews, which will allow cases to move forward through the final phases of the case management process and into the construction management phase.
The number of outstanding Housing Program cases is 456, a drop from previous weeks as some applicants have moved out of the program. VOAD case managers diligently assess each case in the RISE West Virginia program and after three failed attempts to make contact with an applicant, a letter is sent to the applicant with a 30-day window for response. If the applicant does not respond, they are removed from the program, which accounts for the drop in cases last week and this week.
The current breakdown by construction type is as follows: 50 homes are complete, 275 cases require total reconstruction, 56 cases require some form of rehabilitation actions, 106 cases require new mobile home replacement, and 19 cases are awaiting initial project type and undergoing the damage assessment process. In an effort to maximize program participation for West Virginia flood victims, the intake process remains open and VOAD continues to research more than 1,300 cases that were previously closed out.
Crews continued work on a bridge in Nicholas County this week. Three bridges are currently complete and there are 69 others in the case management process.
Currently, 14 projects are in the asbestos inspection and abatement phase for the Slum and Blight Program. The demolition for these projects is expected to take place, next week, weather permitting. There are an additional 167 projects currently in the Slum and Blight program, 164 of which are ready for the environmental review process. An additional 38 projects are in the case management process pipeline for removal that are considered an “imminent threat" from the county or municipality, meaning those properties pose a threat to the health and safety of the public. These projects will move from the “imminent threat” phase to the environmental review process before demolition can begin. The Slum and Blight program is still accepting applications in all counties affected by the 2016 flood.
Any families who feel they still have any unmet needs or who are looking for an update on their case are urged to contact the new VOAD office over the phone at 304-553-0927 or through email at DisasterRecovery@wv.gov. A hotline is also available for anyone needing to report fraud with regard to the RISE West Virginia program at 1-866-WVWATCH (1-866-989-2824).