Greetings to you all!
Governor Culver estimates Iowa’s overall losses from the state’s worst natural disaster will reach $10 billion. This includes housing losses totaling $1 billion, and public infrastructure damage of at least $800 million. Private businesses are also reporting such huge impacts. Alliant Energy’s cost is $225 million and Quaker Oats estimates over $200 million in damage in Cedar Rapids. FEMA says it has received over 35,000 requests for assistance.
In late July, the Governor told federal officials that housing damage in Iowa was nearly 12,000 homes destroyed or damaged to a point they are uninhabitable. An additional 11,943 homes have sustained some damage but families are able to live in them. In total, these homes account for between $900 million and $950 million in financial damages that may not be met by federal disaster programs.
Governor Culver has extended disaster proclamations to the 86 effected counties to August 22, to give Iowans more time and assistance to recover. Eighty-two counties have received presidential declarations making them eligible for public assistance and 67 have receive presidential declarations making them eligible for individual assistance.
The Department of Natural Resources estimates that the total fiscal impact to Iowa parks, other structures and programs is $11,905,000. This includes 24 parks that were hit by floods, heavy rain and strong winds, as well as dikes, levees, parking lots, boat ramps, docks, buildings, etc.
The Rebuild Iowa Office has scheduled two more “Speak Up Iowa” sessions. These are opportunities for Iowans to express ideas about recovery efforts or to receive help in obtaining flood assistance. The August 11 meeting will be in Red Oak at the Red Coach Inn. The August 12 session will be held in Fort Dodge at the Career Education Building on Iowa Central Community College's campus. Iowans can also visit the Governor’s booth in the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fair.
The next Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission meeting is scheduled for August 19 in Cedar Falls. The meeting will be held at the Holiday Inn Cedar Falls – University Plaza 5826 University Ave from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. The 15-person, bipartisan commission will hear recommendations from the various task forces that have been meeting. The commission is scheduled to present their recommendations for flood recovery on September 2 to the Governor and Legislature.
The US Department of Labor has agreed to a request from Governor Culver regarding the $12,000 income limit for the $17.1 million Emergency Public Jobs Program. Participants will no longer have a limit on the wages that can be earned during their six-month tenure on the project. To be eligible for a grant, individuals must live or work in a county that has been declared eligible for FEMA public assistance. Eligible Iowans can apply at their local Iowa Workforce Development Office.
Iowans experiencing mental health problems can use the Iowa Project Recovery Program. With federal money, the Iowa Department of Human Services created the program using local and regional counseling agencies to provide assistance in 29 of the hardest hit counties. However, no Iowan who needs help will be turned away. To receive help, call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.
The Iowa Arts Council has received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for Iowa artists and arts organizations recovering from storm damage. A portion of the new NEA funds will be used to provide small stipends and grants of up to $500 for immediate recovery needs. The remaining new funds will be made available as grants and stipends generally ranging from $3,000 - $6,000. Application information for these grants can be found at www.iowaartscouncil.org.