Gov. Beshear visits Eastern Kentucky to present first checks created during special session

Posted at 6:36 PM, Sep 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-19 18:39:30-04

HINDMAN, Ky. (LEX 18) — Governor Andy Beshear visited the Knott County Sports Complex and presented the county executive with a check from the Eastern Kentucky State Aide for Emergencies. Residents who were there to check on their FEMA status listened in.

One resident, Mary Dorton, says, "I'm glad he's doing that for people because a lot of us need help."

Another Knott County resident, Kristy Jacobs, shared that she lost her home of three years and the home where she raised her children in. She says her FEMA status is still pending. Hearing Governor Beshear speak about how these funds can help residents with their everyday needs gave her hope.

"Joy and thankful, to receive anything, you know?” says Jacobs.

Today, Knott County was presented with a $531,000 check and Letcher County received a $751,000 check. State representatives in attendance say a historic three-day special session and bipartisan support helped make this possible. Beshear says these checks are the first of many that will be distributed in the region. He also shares where some of the Eastern Kentucky Flood Relief Fund will go.

"The second thing we've done is for all 6,500 - 7,000 people, that have been approved for any amount of individual assistance from FEMA, we're sending a $500 check from that fund that we've created. That's hopefully gonna help people get through the next week, the next month, it's similar to a process we used in western Kentucky and no one has to apply -- the checks are going out the door right now,” says Beshear.

Knott County Judge Executive Jeff Dobson tells us that FEMA aid has been a slow process throughout this county and its communities. He tells me that more than 200 homes had to be completely demolished and only around 70 homeowners have gotten any type of FEMA assistance -- but he says that money coming in from the state and events like today make him hopeful for the future of this county.

"There's no way that, with the funding resources that we have in budget, that we can even start to make repairs,” says Judge Dobson.

Dobson explains that getting these funds now will help expedite repairs without having to wait on FEMA reimbursement.

"You know we can get work completed, but our contractors, they can’t work for free we have to pay those folks and without the finances, we can’t keep those guys working and we can’t make any headway,” says Dobson.

For Jacobs, who is still waiting to hear if FEMA will be able to help her and her family, this funding is good news.

“It would mean so much, you know to get stuff that they need,” she says.