BY JANE PRENDERGAST
The Cincinnati Enquirer
FALMOUTH - It may not look like much, this dirt and gravel spot lined with rows of white house trailers.
But this is New Hope - literally and figuratively.
The temporary community has sprung up, thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Kentucky Disaster and Emergency Services (DES), to help provide housing for the victims of last month's flooding in Falmouth. People began signing leases Saturday to live on ''streets'' called Peace, Hope and Joy.
State and federal officials coined the name ''New Hope'' to describe the area's role in spearheading recovery and rebuilding efforts for the hardest-hit residents, said state DES Executive Director W.R. Padgett.
Rick Brock was the first to sign a lease on a trailer and start moving in. He had been living in an old A-frame near Kincaid Lake State Park that was meant as campground housing. It was about the size of two pickup trucks, so the house trailer was a big improvement, he said.
The meat-cutter will live in New Hope with his wife, daughter, son and 6-week-old grandson. Flood victims receive varying levels of rental assistance, depending on their financial circumstances.
A second group of mobile homes, to be called White Oak Place, is set to open near Cynthiana next week. The temporary communities are set up when local markets offer too few choices for replacement housing. Leasees can stay 18 months.
May 1 will mark the passage of two months since the Flood of '97. New figures released by disaster officials Saturday showed that in that time, more than $117 million in federal and state aid has been approved for Kentucky flood victims.
- More than 23,000 Kentuckians have called FEMA's help line;.
- More than $27 million has been disbursed to 13,172 families and individuals in the form of temporary housing grants; another $10.6 million in individual and family grants has been approved for more than 2,000 recipients who could not qualify for other assistance.
- $60 million in low-interest loans from the federal Small Business Administration have been approved for 2,451 individuals and businesses.