In an effort to provide for a segment of the population harmed by the June 2016 flood who have not been served has been launched at Hope Village in White Sulphur Springs.
United Way of Greenbrier Valley has partnered with Homes for White Sulphur Springs and Main Street White Sulphur Springs to establish the United Way Rental Renewal Program. This unique partnership of three local organizations, that provide flood recovery assistance throughout the Greenbrier Valley, is designed specifically to support individuals and families who were renting their homes when the flood hit in June.
“From the earliest days of recovery, United Way of Greenbrier Valley has been searching for ways to help flood survivors who lived in rentals,” said Erin Hurst, executive director of United Way of Greenbrier Valley. FEMA grants and volunteer services have helped in the recovery effort, she said, however, it was largely focused on homeowners. “It is our hope that this program will provide relief for families who have not yet benefited from the outpouring of support underway throughout the Valley.”
A ceremony for signing the memorandum of understanding by the three organizations was held in front of one of the one-bedroom homes at Hope Village on Monday, Mar. 6, that included Tom Crabtree, a volunteer architect and WSS resident who mobilized the Hope Village Project, Main Street WSS President Pat Harper, and Hurst.
Maggie Hutchison, executive director of Homes for WSS noted that, “we have received many requests for assistance from renters. We are thrilled that United Way of Greenbrier Valley and Main Street WSS have recognized this unmet need and come forward to support the overall recovery of the valley. The United Way Rental Renewal Program will create an opportunity for deserving families to become a part of this new neighborhood.”
United Way of Greenbrier Valley has set aside a $250,000 grant in support of the initiative, which came from post-flood donors. These funds will be matched by funds from Homes for White Sulphur Springs in the hope of assisting as many families as possible.
The rental properties developed through the rental renewal program will be managed by Main Street WSS, said Harper. “Any profits will be funneled back to White Sulphur Springs to renovate, beautify and develop business ownership programs. The Main Street WSS has taken on ‘a huge role’ in renovation and rebuilding White Sulphur Springs since the flood,” said Harper. “We’re thrilled to be able to participate in the long-term recovery of our community. The repair of existing homes and construction of new homes are critical to the economic development of White Sulphur Springs, which is the primary mission of Main Street.”
Hope Village was created by Homes for White Sulphur Springs in response to the need for a “new neighborhood” for families who could not or did not want to return to their home in the flood-ravaged areas of the city. Today there are 24 homes completed or under way with more families in the approval process.