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FEMA Denies Reynolds' Appeal for Disaster Assistance
Iowa Ag Connection - 12/05/2018

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified Gov. Kim Reynolds' office that the governor's appeal for disaster assistance for tornado victims in Marshall and Polk counties is denied.

On Aug. 17, Gov. Reynolds requested that the federal Individual Assistance Program be made available to residents and businesses affected by tornadoes on July 19. On Sept. 14, FEMA notified Gov. Reynolds that her request was denied. The governor sent an appeal letter to FEMA on Sept. 28.

Individual assistance funding provides victims with programs and services to maximize recovery. In the denial letter, FEMA said a review reaffirmed the original finding that the impact was not severe or widespread enough for individual assistance. President Donald Trump declared Marshall County a presidential disaster in September and Polk County a presidential disaster in August, making public assistance funds available to both counties.

Iowa is committed to working with Marshalltown to help residents get their homes, businesses and community back. In July, in response to the tornadoes, the governor issued a disaster proclamation for Marshall and Polk counties. The proclamation activated the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant and Disaster Case Management programs for qualifying residents.

Since day one, state teams have been on the ground in Marshalltown assessing damage, coordinating volunteers and identifying resource needs. The state estimates that more than 900 residences were impacted.

This month, the state announced $1 million in emergency funding to Marshalltown for affected downtown businesses as part of the Iowa Economic Development Authority's (IEDA) Community Catalyst grant program. IEDA began consulting with Marshalltown business owners this summer and hired a contractor to provide ongoing assistance as damage assessments and rebuilding take place.

In October, Gov. Reynolds announced VALOR, a new program to provide temporary minor emergency home repairs to victims. Marshalltown residents have until Dec. 27 to apply for the program. Learn more by visiting marshalltown-ia.gov/VALOR or calling (641) 754-6583.

Also in October, the governor announced $400,000 in state and federal funding to equip and staff a mobile response unit to make critical repairs to tornado-damaged homes. The unit is a partnership between Volunteer Iowa and Habitat for Humanity of Iowa and is supported by IEDA and the Corporation for National and Community Service.

In August, Gov. Reynolds established the Long-Term Housing Recovery Task Force to assist with housing needs following the tornado. The task force is made up of representatives from local, state and federal agencies and is working to identify available resources and provide a network of assistance to meet needs.

The need for long-term recovery in Marshalltown is ongoing. To donate, visit iowahabitat.org. To volunteer, call (515) 444-2390 or email marshalltowntornadovolunteers@gmail.com.

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