Flood funds slow to flow for Iowa communities - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Flood funds slow to flow for Iowa communities


WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Cold and snow are in the forecast and that's not good news for eastern Iowa flood victims still working to rebuild their homes.

Many homeowners can't rebuild in the winter when there's no heat and no money to buy a new furnace.

Many flood victims thought they'd at least have the money to buy a furnace by now.

Area communities point to a funding holdup as the problem.

James Hackett has steadily worked on his Waterloo home on Sans Souci since the flood.

Still, there's no furnace and he's still deciding whether to accept a FEMA buyout.

He would welcome additional money through the federal jumpstart program.

"That would help me make my decision. I'm not sure one way or the other. It's gonna be tough to support Sans Souci with 5 or 6 people down here. It still might be a big decision," said James Hackett, a homeowner on Sans Souci.

Cities are responsible for handing out federal money in the form of Community Development Block Grants from U.S. Housing and Urban Development but homeowners must meet federal and state requirements.

"The state's looking at it from the bigger picture of they want to make a better housing quality in the state of Iowa and that's a great thing. However, we're concerned that the timing of that will take longer and we want people to get furnaces and water heaters into their homes," said Noel Anderson, Waterloo Planning and Community Development Director.

Cedar Falls has about 200 flood affected homes.

Federal Jumpstart applications are available at city hall.

But Mayor Jon Crews says it's been a frustrating process since Congress awarded the state the money back in September.

"We realize there's going to be restrictions but it seems like there's more than before and when you start looking at applications, we're trying to figure out how we can give anybody anything based on the regulations," said Crews.

Meantime, homeowners like James Hackett will keep going, hoping the red tape gets cut soon.

City officials from Waterloo, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, and Des Moines are trying to set up a meeting with Governor Chet Culver or his staff to try to iron out the details.

That's expected to happen soon.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

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