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Hopkins Co. officials look toward rebuilding and long-term housing after deadly tornadoes

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Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 6:28 PM CST
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HOPKINS COUNTY, Ky. (WFIE) - Debris cleanup from the storms is still underway in Hopkins County and once that is complete, officials are looking forward to members of the community rebuilding or finding long-term housing.

Only a few families are beginning to rebuild their homes, but many people who lost everything are still displaced and living in travel trailers, hotels or with friends and family.

Judge Executive, Jack Whitfield, says residents of Hopkins County may never forget the day tragedy struck their home on Dec. 10.

“You know, it still hurts every time you go through Dawson Springs or Barnsley and see all the damage and destruction, but we are going to get rebuilt,” said Whitfield. “We are going to be better than we were before.”

Judge Whitfield says rebuilding is not going to be easy, but right now he’s pushing for people to find more permanent housing.

“It’s going to be a difficult process for a couple reasons,” said Whitfield. “One, we know there are material shortages across the country, so you have a disaster like this, and you already have those shortages, plus inflation making the materials even more expensive than they already were.”

Judge Whitfield says everyone’s rebuilding process is going to be a unique journey. He knows several people in the community are working with contractors, some already have houses up, and others are still in need of assistance.

“There’s a lot of people who were fully insured and have started that rebuild process already,” said Whitfield. “There are quite a few that didn’t have insurance or were underinsured. So, that’s going to be a more difficult process.”

Judge Whitfield says a long-term recovery group is currently in the works to help those families.

This group will have case workers assigned to families to help them get exactly what they need to rebuild, but he says they could use the community’s help.

“We’re trying to get all of those donations, whether it’s building supplies, labor, or funding to that group so they can begin to work with the individuals that have been so terribly affected to get them in the rebuild process,” said Whitfield.

Judge Whitfield also says before families and communities can begin rebuilding, the streets must get completely cleaned up.

They are currently still in need of volunteers with equipment.

Officials are hoping all debris can be cleaned up by the set cutoff date of March 14.

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