NewsCovering Kentucky


Rebuilding the Owsley County community one house at a time

Posted at 8:30 PM, Apr 22, 2021

OWSLEY COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — The rebuild after historic floods continues in eastern Kentucky.

The housing organization in Owsley County estimates 50 homes were either destroyed or damaged. That's a devastating number in a small community that counts less than 5,000 people.

"Scary time. Took everything we've got," said Juanita McIntosh.

Juanita, her husband and son were sleeping as it rained that night. Only a phone call from her brother woke her up and they left as the water rose. When they returned, their home was destroyed.

"We wouldn't be here if he hadn't called," said McIntosh. "It's heartbreaking knowing a lot of your memories are gone. And thank God we got our lives though."

"It's the most devastating flood in the history of Owsley County since it's been formed," said Cassie Hudson.

As in many rural areas, Hudson says Owsley County has suffered from job losses and the lack of safe and affordable housing. She's the executive director of Partnership Housing, a Booneville-based non-profit that fixes or builds homes for their neighbors.

"So if you want to keep your population and keep building instead of declining, you have to have decent housing," said Hudson.

After the March storm, Hudson sprang into action to help families, such as the McIntosh's, rebuild and return.

Owsley County house.jpg

"We had to tear it down actually to the studs and we're rebuilding from walls up," said Hudson.

The rest of the week, volunteers will blitz the project which is set to finish on Sunday.

"I can't wait to get back home. It's gonna look beautiful inside," said McIntosh.

This weekend, one family returns to Owsley County. Hudson says the hope is to finish more projects this summer to bring more families, pushed out by the flood back home.If you'd like to learn more information about Partnership Housing, or help in the rebuild of Owsley County homes, you can call 606-593-7296.