$517M in Federal Disaster Funds Announced for Iowa

June 11, 2009

State and federal officials announced June 9 that Iowa will get nearly $517 million in federal disaster funding to recover from the record flooding and storms of last year.

Gov. Chet Culver, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Dave Loebsack announced the funding just days before the anniversary of the extensive flooding in Cedar Rapids. Flooding also swept through a number of smaller cities, most in eastern Iowa, as well as one neighborhood of Des Moines.

The funds will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It bring the state’s funding from HUD’s community development Block Grant program to nearly $800 million.

The money will help communities address a variety of needs, ranging from home buyouts, public infrastructure projects, assistance to businesses, economic revitalization and flood mitigation.

“Iowa has come so far in the past year – rebuilding piece by piece and block by block with every dollar of assistance that has come into our state,” Harkin said in a statement. “But there are still significant areas that still show signs of devastation and have a very damaged local economy.

“You need only walk through downtown Cedar Rapids to see empty window fronts and padlocked doors that once represented a thriving economy.”

The total amount of federal disaster money allocated to Iowa is now more than $3 billion, about half of which was funneled through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

State officials estimate the total damage at $8 billion to $10 billion.

Secretary Shaun Donovan is scheduled to tour flood damage in Cedar Rapids on Wednesday. He’ll be accompanied on the visit by Culver, Loebsack and other officials, then hold a news conference with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the former governor of Iowa.

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