Republicans Support Disaster Relief Bill

From this week’s House Republican Newsletter:

House Passes Disaster Relief Bill

On Tuesday evening the legislature passed HF 64 by a vote of 98-0. The bill appropriated $56 million to the flood relief victims and codified the establishment of the Rebuild Iowa Office. Some of the specifics of the bill are below.

Jumpstart Plus The legislature appropriated $24 million to the Jumpstart program while at the same time expanding the eligibillity of the program. The current program is designed to assist home owners making 100% of the area median average and landlords. The bill assists those individuals making up to 150% of the area median average however it then limits the grant size to $24,999.

The legislature also established a priority process for distribution of the funds.

Unmet Needs Disaster Grant Program The legislature established and appropriated $10 million to a new Unmet Needs Disaster Grant Program which will be administered by DHS. The purpose of the program is to help pay for unmet needs for persons located in an area which was declared a disaster between May 24, 2008 and August 14, 2008.

The eligibility for the program is 300% of the federal poverty level. The long term disaster recovery committees and the disaster recovery case management program will be used to determine if it is truly an unmet need. The grant shall not exceeds $2,500. The funding is handed out in the form of grants or vouchers for specific purposes.

Local Assistance The legislature appropriated $22.0 million in the form of local assistance to counties and cities that were affected by the flood and tornado. The money is disbursed on a formula schedule with counties and cities affected by the disaster receiving a minimum of $2,000.

Money awarded under this program are to be used by the counties and cities for any of the following purposes:
• Small business assistance.
• Nonprofit organizations assistance.
• Assistance for local buyouts.
• Assistance for the replacement or rehabilitation of housing.
• Assistance for the repair or replacement of public infrastructure.
• Assistance for increased costs associated with the revaluation and assessment of property due to a natural disaster occurring in 2008.

Rebuild Iowa Office HF 64 also authorized the Rebuild Iowa Office. The purposes of the office is to coordinate the state activities associated with the rebuilding efforts following the declaration of a disaster area by the president of the United States after May 24, 2008, and before June 30, 2011. The office is set to sunset on June 30, 2011.

HF 64 also established benchmarks and reporting requirements for the office. The appropriations for this office will occur later in the session.

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