$223 Million Going Towards Rebuilding Rental Housing Following 2021 Tornadoes

After deadly tornadoes ravaged West Kentucky in 2021, Mayfield Mayor Kathy O’Nan stood outside amongst the debris of her devastated city and spoke to Governor Andy Beshear, who promised the state would be there and that he would not let her city go bankrupt.

On Monday, more than two years later, O’Nan and Gov. Andy Beshear stood together in the state Capitol in front of the gathered media to announce a public-private partnership that will begin the process of rebuilding rental units.

“We have been so blessed, so blessed with the funding to rebuild our municipal buildings, which we lost every one of those, as did the county,” O’Nan said. “We have been blessed with nonprofit organizations both national and local who have come in and built homes…”

“But as tornadoes are want to do, this tornado stuck in the heart of our community to the heart of our people who are most vulnerable. It was those people who lived in those subpar rental homes who are still struggling,” she continued. “This piece today, this multifamily 122 units that will be coming to our hometown to house our people is just heartwarming.”

There will be a total of 953 units built across five Kentucky cities:

  • 76 rental units in Hopkinsville
  • 122 rental units in Mayfield
  • 88 rental units in Dawson Springs
  • 32 rental units in Madisonville
  • 635 rental units in Bowling Green

Two pots of money are contributing to the rebuilding efforts: the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) federal funds for the tornado event and the Kentucky Housing Corporation, which worked with the Department of Local Government to put this rental housing budget of more than $223 million together.

The money will flow to private developers to build the rental housing, which will be constructed over the next 18 to 24 months or more. The Housing Corporation plans to offer tornado survivors priority placement in the new units for the beginning months of the newly constructed residences.

“This is really going to be workforce and affordable housing,” said Wendy Smith, the Deputy Executive Director of Housing Programs at the Kentucky Housing Corporation, said of the new units.