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FEMA denies Gov. Reynolds' appeal for assistance to individuals impacted by tornadoes in Marshall, Polk counties


DES MOINES – Gov. Kim Reynolds has received notification the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has denied her appeal to make federal disaster assistance available for homeowners, renters and businesses impacted by the July 19, 2018, tornadoes in Marshall and Polk counties.


On Aug. 17, the governor requested the federal Individual Assistance Program be made available to residents and businesses affected by the July 19 tornadoes in Marshall and Polk counties. On Sept. 14, Gov. Reynolds received notification from FEMA that her request had been denied. She sent a letter of appeal to FEMA on Sept. 28.


Individual Assistance Program funding provides disaster survivors with programs and services to maximize recovery, including assistance with housing, personal property replacement, medical expenses and legal services.


In its denial of the governor's appeal, FEMA said after review of the information contained in the initial request and the appeal, they reaffirmed their original findings that the impact to individuals and households from the tornado event was not of such severity and magnitude to warrant a designation of Individual Assistance.


VALOR logoAlthough federal Individual Assistance has been denied, the State of Iowa is working with the City of Marshalltown to provide assistance to home owners impacted by the tornado. The Voluntary Agencies Leading and Organizing Repairs (VALOR) program provides temporary minor emergency home repairs for eligible properties that are owner-occupied or under contract for purchase and have sustained damage as the result of the July 19 tornado. Repairs eligible under VALOR include weatherproofing, securing windows and doors, repairing damaged portions of roofs, removing mold and mildew, and providing safe access to a home with stairs or a ramp. The goal of the program is to help people return to, or remain in, their home by completing repairs that will make the residence safe, secure, accessible, and habitable. VALOR utilizes selected volunteer organizations to perform the repairs. Marshalltown residents have until Dec. 27 to apply for the VALOR program. Information about VALOR is available at or by calling Marshalltown's Housing and Community Development office at 641-754-6583.

To assist with Marshalltown's housing needs following the tornado, in August Gov. Reynolds established the 2018 Long Term Housing Recovery Task Force. The task force is working to identify Marshalltown's immediate and long-term housing needs and the potential resources to meet those needs. The task force is comprised of representatives from local, State, and federal agencies, along with voluntary agency partners. The task force members will collaborate to identify available resources and provide an overall network of assistance to support immediate and long-term housing recovery goals.


In addition, the governor activated the Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program for qualifying residents of Marshall and Polk counties, along with the Disaster Case Management Program.


The Iowa Individual Assistance Grant Program provides grants of up to $5,000 for households with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level or a maximum annual income of $41,560 for a family of three. Grants are available for home or car repairs, replacement of clothing or food and temporary housing expenses. For more information, visit the Iowa Department of Human Services website.


Disaster Case Management is a program to address serious needs to overcome a disaster-related hardship, injury or adverse condition. Disaster case managers work with clients to create a disaster recovery plan and provide guidance, advice and referral to obtain a service or resource. There are no income eligibility requirements for this program. For information on the Disaster Case Management Program, contact your local community action association or visit


The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management leads, coordinates and supports homeland security and emergency management functions in order to establish sustainable communities and ensure economic opportunities for Iowa and its citizens.