CAP helps Pike County families start recovery after flooding

Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Disaster Relief and Housing Program staff and volunteers have heard stories of resilience over the past eight months as Appalachian communities continue recovery in the wake of historic flooding earlier this year. But disaster struck again in late August when what was described by the National Weather Service as “life threatening” flash flooding swept through parts of Eastern Kentucky. Pike County was one of the hardest hit areas.

“These were dangerously swift flood waters that did major damage,” said Jamie Conley, Christian Appalachian Project’s (CAP) Housing manager for Floyd, Johnson, and Martin Counties. “Most of the homes were either washed away or beyond repair. Around 90 percent of the homes impacted were total losses. Very few are repairable.” 

In response, CAP’s staff and volunteers traveled to Pike County and helped muck out homes for two families. “We did not hesitate to step up and step out to help these families in our own backyard,” said Robyn Renner, director of CAP’s Disaster Relief Program and the Housing manager for Rockcastle, Jackson, and McCreary Counties. “I am grateful for all of our staff and volunteers who have continued to bring comfort and hope for families who have faced devastation this year.”

The families lived side by side, each of their homes taking on up to 4 feet of water on the inside during the recent flooding. CAP helped tear out wet sheetrock and insulation, in addition to flooring, cabinets, furniture, and other damaged belongings. In the 30 years the families have lived there, they have never been flooded.

“The flood caused severe anxiety and depression to the homeowners,” said Jamie Conley, manager of CAP’s Housing Program in Johnson, Floyd, and Martin Counties. “They did not have flood insurance, so everything that was damaged is going to have to be replaced by them out of their pockets. Most of those are items they have worked hard for more than 30 years to have.”

Several families in Appalachia were already seeing hard times because of the impact of COVID-19, but the drastic weather events of this year have put families into even harder situations. With the help and support of volunteers, partners, and donors, this year CAP has mucked out 59 homes in our service counties that were flooded and provided repairs on 42 of those homes. There are still five homes with work in progress and one home on the waiting list.

“If it weren’t for our partners, volunteers, and donors, there is no way we could have helped all of those who were helped,” Conley said. “We typically do home repair, but in emergency cases, such as the flooding that has taken place this year, we want to do what we can to help families in need, and that takes an army. We are very thankful for anything and everything our supporters have done for us to be able to answer the prayers of these families.”

 

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