On February 28, the RISE WV program, meant to help flood victims with housing, was put on hold.
In documents just obtained by 13 News Andrew Mihalik, RISE WV Program Manager talks about the impact of that delay.
After almost a month of having the program paused a memo sent to Director of Community Advancement and Development, Mary Jo Thompson said during this suspension 55 homes were in construction, with many of the families relying on temporary housing. 38 families had homeowner signing events scheduled, and had to cancel them, saying “Many of these households contact the program daily inquiring when they will be rescheduled.
In emails obtained by 13 News, on April 10 a woman reached out to the Governor and her plea was forwarded by a case worker to Thompson as well as Governor Justice’s General Counsel Brian Abraham.
The case worker says in the email, “(She) stated she has waited patiently for information regarding when her home construction will start. She says there has been one excuse after another and she’s frustrated. Her home was condemned and all of the contents removed. (She) was told RISE WV would take care of the demolition but her flood damaged home remains on her property. (She) told me presently the 29-foot camper has no water and no heat. She says she is told one lie after another and would like some answers.”
At a press conference on June 4, Governor Justice said, “No outcry had come directly that I know of to our office.”
The case worker also asked that someone contact the woman as soon as possible to discuss her concerns.
Another document 13 News recieved was a letter from Abraham to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD sent Secretary Wood Thrasher a letter on March 28, requesting an update on the overall recovery of the State after the department found out RISE WV had been suspended.
Abraham responded on April 6, with the letter below, requesting a meeting to discuss the concerns of HUD. Abraham also states, ” Based upon the tone and tenor of your letter, I believe you have been provided with false and misleading information from a source obviously not associated with either the intent or actions of the State of West Virginia regarding our unmet housing needs.”