National Weather Service photo of Lennox Industries tornado damage in Marshalltown.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has again said “no” to requests for individual disaster assistance for Marshall and Polk counties in the wake of July’s tornadoes.

Governor Kim Reynolds appealed that initial ruling denying assistance and it was turned down once again. Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer says the didn’t have a lot of hope that FEMA would reverse its initial denial. “We expected that from talking to other mayors of other towns that had disasters, so it’s no surprise to me or other city officials,” Greer says.

However, the Marshalltown cupboard isn’t completely bare. FEMA authorized the first ever use in the continental United States of what it calls the Valor Program. That program provides funds to help pay for repairs to damaged homes. “Up to $5,000 per household of equipment, doors, shingles, windows that FEMA will help people to buy or will buy for the people, if we can get qualified contractors here,” Greer says.”And Habitat for Humanity has hired some Americorps people to be here to be the teams who will do the work”.

Work is already underway on some houses via the Valor program. The deadline to apply for those funds is December 27th. The Valor Program was first rolled out in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The state also 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.

(By Ken Huge, KFJB, Marshaltown)