Another step of progress

The effect of Community Development Block Grant funds was evident Friday at the residence of Mickie Johnson in southwest Minot. Her home was severely damaged in the 2011 flood. Since that time she has lived in four different locations, including a FEMA trailer. Now she is comfortably situated inside her renovated residence.

“It’s unbelievable. I don’t know what to say,” said a very grateful Johnson during a brief open house at her residence Friday. “All I know is they did a wonderful job and put in long hours, weekends included.”

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., and Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman were among those touring Johnson’s home Friday. They were part of a delegation examining the home rebuilt with the use of CDBG dollars.

“It’s nice to see it happening,” remarked Hoeven. “It always takes too long. That’s a frustration for all of us. The CDBG works in a way that effects people directly.”

The exterior of the home was covered with new siding. New windows and porch railings were evident too. The inside boasted an entirely new kitchen, living room, bedrooms, bathroom and basement. The home was gutted to the 2×4’s following the 2011 flood.

“That’s the only thing that isn’t new, some of the 2×4’s,” said Johnson. “Everything is fixed up great. My FEMA trailer is cleaned out now but I’ve still got some stuff in storage somewhere.”

Rebuilding following the flood has been a slow process for many in Minot. Johnson’s daughter still resides in a FEMA trailer located directly behind Johnson’s home. Her daughter’s house is also being repaired.

CDBG dollars for Minot and Ward County arrived in two separate appropriations. The initial CDBG totaled more than $77 million. That was followed by an additional $40 million.

“We have 120 applicants in the process now,” said David Sellers, production manager for DSW Homes, the builders who constructed Johnson’s home. “There’s still CDBG funds available to help other homeowners. We feel very rewarded with this home. Most importantly, the homeowner is happy.”

According to a news release from Hoeven’s office, the City of Minot has approved 29 homes for rehabilitation, five for reconstruction and 80 for voluntary acquisitions using CDBG dollars. The city continues to identify residents for eligibility of CDBG funds.