FROM: Michelle Spohnheimer, Housing & Community Development Director
DATE: January 15, 2019
RE: Marshalltown continues to make progress in the first ever implementation of VALOR
The City of Marshalltown continues to work with Habitat for Humanity of Iowa and other supporting volunteer organizations on the implementation of the Voluntary Agencies Leading and Organizing Repairs (VALOR) program for its residents impacted by the July 19 tornado.
VALOR leverages federal funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to create a partnership with local volunteer agencies, making it possible for volunteers to make temporary minor emergency repairs to eligible properties. The goal of the program is to help people return to, or remain in, their home by completing repairs that will make the residence safe, secure, accessible, and habitable. The City of Marshalltown is administering the grant funding and purchasing the necessary supplies, materials, and equipment, limited to $5,000 per residential structure.
In Marshalltown 129 homeowners applied for the program, with 103 being deemed eligible. Recently Habitat for Humanity began making the temporary minor emergency repairs to the eligible homes. While the date for all work to be completed on the 103 homes is March 12, the City and Habitat for Humanity are confident they can complete the work.
Habitat for Humanity presently has 7 construction crew members leading volunteer teams working within Marshalltown and will have up to 10 crew members leading volunteers in the next (few) week(s). These teams are doing work to homes such as weatherproofing, securing windows and doors, removing mold and mildew, and providing safe access to a home with stairs or a ramp.
“I am proud of the work being done by City staff in this effort. Marshalltown is the first in the continental United States to deploy this program,” said Marshalltown Mayor Joel Greer. “We have worked with federal and State agencies, as well as volunteer organizations, to administer a program when there was no guidance on how it should function. Certainly it has had its bumps, but we have persevered and are starting to see that perseverance pay off,” said Mayor Greer.
“We recognize that VALOR is not a complete solution to homeowners’ challenges in recovering from the tornado,” said Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinser. “While it is not meant to put in place permanent repairs to homes, it can provide those minor repairs that will allow the homeowner to remain in their home until more permanent repairs can be made.” The City is also working alongside other agencies focused on housing repairs to coordinate additional resources that may be available to homeowners.
Habitat for Humanity has a great network of volunteers throughout the State, many of which have indicated interest in helping the recovery efforts in Marshalltown. “We had 451 volunteers work with us immediately following the tornado and as we work through VALOR we are working with smaller crews on projects because of the limited scope of work on each project,” said Lisa Houser, Executive Director. If you are interested in volunteering with the recovery efforts you can contact RSVP in Marshalltown or contact Habitat for Humanity of Iowa directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Iowa Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is working with the City of Marshalltown Housing and Community Development Department to implement the program. Seventy-five percent of the funding for the VALOR Program is provided through FEMA. The State of Iowa and the City of Marshalltown are responsible for providing the remaining 25 percent of the funding. The program was first authorized in Puerto Rico to assist residents impacted by Hurricane Maria.
If you have questions regarding Project VALOR please do not hesitate to contact the City of Marshalltown Housing Department 641-754-6583.