RISE West Virginia case management systems being streamlined into one

Major Gen. James Hoyer, adjutant general of West Virginia, gives an update Thursday about the RISE West Virginia flood recovery program. (WCHS/WVAH)

West Virginia Adjutant General James Hoyer said he is consolidating three case management systems into one for flood recovery and hopes that will get the RISE West Virginia program back on track.

At a news conference with Gov. Jim Justice on Thursday, Hoyer said his primary focus since he was appointed by the governor to straighten out the beleaguered RISE program is to have one case management system. He said Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), RISE and the state Department of Commerce were all managing flood recovery cases previously. Hoyer said moving forward VOAD will manage all of the cases.

“When you have that (three case management systems), you are going to have some levels of confusion,” Hoyer said.

Video of the news conference can be viewed below:

By the end of next week, he said, VOAD should have solid numbers about how many families are still out there who suffered losses in the June 2016 flood who still need assistance.

The general said he also is establishing a constituent support system where information about flood victims can be received so case managers can learn the names of those who still need help. In the past 24 hours, he said he has learned of three or four families who are now in case management.

These include a Fayette County man who is now in a stable situation in a hotel and a situation where a family who received a new mobile home, but couldn’t stay there because it had not received the keys and the power had not been turned on at the mobile home.

“We’re working through all of those issues where we had glitches in the staffing process,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer said the National Guard is working with Commerce to get staffing in place.

“We’re (National Guard) pretty damn good at following through on staffing processes,” Hoyer said.

As a result of the revamped RISE program, Federal Emergency Management Agency dollars are started to flow through to pay for generators, water systems and the mitigation for individual homes, the general said. He said there are 19 homes that still need to be demolished through FEMA that will be taking place that will help build property values in communities.

Hoyer pledged to give another progress update on the RISE program next Friday.

“My priority right now is to work the processes. This is no different than the immediate recovery from a flood,” he said.

At the last news conference on Monday, Justice said he temporarily halted the RISE West Virginia program after he learned that the company hired to help oversee the program submitted a $17 million change order.

The governor pledged Monday that the program would get on track and would make progress over the next month. He acknowledged the state Department of Commerce “dropped the ball” in handling the flood recovery program, and he announced that Hoyer would now oversee the program.

The Eyewitness News iTeam has spoken previously with multiple flood victims of the June 2016 flood who suffered losses, and they said they were given the runaround by West Virginia Rise and were still waiting for assistance even though the state has received millions of dollars in aid to help with flood recovery.

Justice said during the news conference Thursday that the temporary pause of the RISE program was a blessing because the state will save $7 million to $8 million after uncovering the $17 million change order. The governor said it also uncovered inadequacies in the flood recovery program that are now being addressed.

As part of any terminations in the Commerce Department, Justice said there have not been any terminations so far, but there will be some, and those moves will be made soon.

Families having issues with RISE West Virginia may call 304-220-2570.

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