The Iowa Legislature rushed through a disaster aid bill today as a second winter storm bears down on the state. The bill authorizes up to one million state tax dollars to be handed out as grant for low income Iowans. Iowans who meet the income restrictions would ask for state grants to cover temporary housing, home repair and food.
Senator Jeff Angelo, a Republican from Creston, says the only downside is that the money cannot be used to pay for generators. "Many of us have heard the forecasts for blizzard warnings for portions of the state that will be hitting the cities that have already not recovered from the original storm," Angelo says. "We do, unfortunately, expect some dire situations for some Iowans."
Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, says this may help some Iowans survive the storm, financially. "This really deals with those people who don’t have insurance, people below the poverty level, the people we need to be serving," Dvorsky says.
Senator Larry McKibben, a Republican, is from Marshalltown which has been hard-hit by the storm. "(The bill) won’t meet every need and every business need that’s out there, but it will meet and I think fill in for the families that are the lowest income families that have needs," McKibben says. To apply for the state assistance, you must live in one of the 60 counties Governor Culver declared a disaster.
McKibben says there’s no guarantee federal assistance will be forwarded to Iowans who’ve been struck by the storm, and that’s why this "pro-active" bill is needed, according to McKibben. Governor Culver will sign the bill into law as soon as it reaches his desk. For more information about the grants, contact your county emergency management coordinator.