Heavy rain and floods did extensive damage to homes in Shell Rock, Clarksville and Greene; however, the level of damage did not reach the threshold needed to qualify for FEMA assistance. The Disaster Recovery Coalition was reactivated in December to assist families still in need of assistance. Pastor Mark Anderson, assistant to the Bishop, explains the process:
Q: What is a long-term recovery coalition”?
PMA: It is a tool for the churches, government, and non-governmental agencies to combine their resources and work as a team to help local families recover from a disaster and to increase their resiliency.
Q: What is currently happening?
PMA: The Iowa Department of Human Services has a contract with Community Action to provide case management. The local cities and media have reached out to the communities affected by the floods, inviting people who need assistance to contact the coalition. A case manager authenticates the needs and refers families to the right source for assistance. Often that assistance, especially in an emergency, is the coalition itself.
Q: Are Lutherans involved in this Coalition?
PMA: Yes! Lutheran Disaster Response of Iowa has contributed $10,000 for the Coalition, which includes pastors in the county. In fact, Pastor Kim Smith of Faith Lutheran in Shell Rock is the Coalition chair.
Q: Where did LDR-Iowa get those funds?
PMA: Lutheran Disaster Response of Iowa is a cooperative ministry of the three Iowa Synods and Lutheran Services in Iowa. Individuals and congregations have donated to LDR-Iowa, and these funds are pooled and shared by the Southeastern, Western, and Northeastern Iowa Synods. Folks in the others synods have been very generous during this flood in offering prayers, funds, and flood buckets.
Q: How is the Coalition helping families?
PMA: There are still about 50 families who are displaced because of the flood. We are working with the case managers to give grants for families who have immediate needs but no other resources for help. We are helping families purchase things like furnaces, appliances, and building supplies so that they can get back into their homes.
Q: Is the work almost done?
PMA: By no means. We will be involved in this ministry for months — and we will not be finished until we have done all we possibly can or until every family has a safe place to live.
Visit Lutheran Disaster Response of Iowa to learn how to support Iowa flood victims.