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Audit: Home projects incomplete after West Virginia floods

A legislative audit questions whether replacement homes for West Virginia low-income residents were completed through an assistance program following 2016 deadly floods.(Department of Commerce)

A legislative audit questions whether replacement homes for West Virginia low-income residents were completed through an assistance program following 2016 deadly floods.

The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports auditors found only the initial phase of a home replacement was covered in invoices paid by the West Virginia Development Office. The audit released Sunday used data from RISE West Virginia, a $150 million flood recovery effort funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The audit says it doesn't appear any single-home reconstruction or rehabilitation was undertaken and none of the 49 manufacturing housing unit replacement projects were completed.

Gov. Jim Justice earlier this month named West Virginia Adjutant General James Hoyer to take control of the program. State Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher was forced out after complaints about poor management and residents receiving no help.

You can read the complete audit here:

Gov. Jim Justice released a lengthy statement Sunday night, saying, "the legislative auditor got it wrong."

Below is Justice's statement:

"The Legislative Auditor today released their report on the audit of the RISE WV Program. The report concluded that “the Legislative Auditor questions whether any individual homeowner has received full assistance from the Rise West Virginia flood recovery program.” The Legislative Auditor got it wrong. The Justice Administration stands by the numbers released Friday by the National Guard, which show that out of the 451 cases in the program, 324 have been reviewed, and 106 assigned. As of today, eighteen families have been handed keys to new homes, and five are ready for final inspection this week. On Friday, Governor’s staff offered updated information to a representative from the Legislative Auditor’s office. Evidently, he chose not to use the updated information and instead published the report with old information from before General Hoyer took over. General Hoyer has also offered to let a member of the Legislative Auditor’s office share office space with the RISE program, to ensure they are getting the most accurate information, but they have not agreed to do so The report does get several things right. Numerous illegal contracts were entered into by the West Virginia Development Office, and the RISE program was mismanaged from the beginning. These facts verify why the Justice Administration had to step in and clean up the program. Now that General Hoyer is overseeing RISE, progress is being made quickly and families are being taken care of."

Justice said in a release that a news conference will be held at Tuesday at 9 p.m. discussing RISE West Virginia.


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