The power of local housing trust funds to transform neighborhoods is strong.
After a long winter, work has again begun on homes that were damaged from the July 2018 tornado. For many homeowners who were not able to cover the cost of repairs through insurance, the Region 6 Housing Trust Fund stepped in to fund nearly $260,000 in improvements to housing stock in the tornado-affected area since July 2018.
This work took place thanks to a special funding award from the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) following the tornado. The Housing Trust Fund has at least $130,000 of additional improvements that will be made to Marshalltown housing stock this spring and summer. Upcoming work will be funded through normal housing trust fund program funding.
“Region 6 has been a huge part of tornado recovery,” said Don Snider, Region 6 Housing Trust Fund Board President. “If it wasn’t for Region 6, a lot more houses would have been lost.”
“Our region was incredibly understanding when the tornado hit,” Mark Newberg, Region 6 Housing Director commented. “We typically serve a four-county area, and we’ve been concentrating resources over the last six months into Marshalltown in order to meet the need. Roofs needed to be fixed, and quickly.”
The response to the tornado in Marshalltown has shown the value of local housing trust funds throughout Iowa. In addition to hiring contractors and completing essential housing repairs in the tornado area, the housing trust fund was also able to get more homeowners covered by insurance.
“When the Housing Trust Fund assists a household, the homeowner is required to carry insurance after the work is complete,” Mike Wentzien, Housing Specialist with the Housing Trust Fund. “That way, if we make an investment to a house, we know that investment is covered by insurance moving forward.” The one exception to this policy is if roof work is needed in the tornado area. Because immediate repairs were needed to save houses from more damage following the tornado, Region 6 waived the insurance requirement for roof work.
The insurance policy paid off for some in the tornado-affected area of Marshalltown. Wentzien added, “Prior to the tornado, the Housing Trust Fund had completed seven projects in the tornado-affected area. Thanks to the requirement for homeowners to carry insurance, insurance covered the cost of repairs on six of the houses in the tornado area and demolition on another.”
Any homeowner still in need of assistance should learn more about program eligibility by contacting Region 6 at 641-752-0717 or visiting http://www.region6planning.org/. In addition to the Region 6 Housing Trust Fund, other organizations are pitching in to contribute to the Marshalltown housing recovery efforts. Partners include Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA), Habitat for Humanity of Iowa, AmeriCorps, The City of Marshalltown, Voluntary Agencies Leading and Organizing Repairs (VALOR), The Salvation Army, and the Long-Term Family Recovery Group, among others.
The Region 6 Housing Trust Fund was created in 2009 to expanding the supply of quality affordable housing in Hardin, Marshall, Poweshiek and Tama Counties. Housing Trust Fund partners include the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and individual counties. The Region 6 Housing Trust Fund is administered by the Region 6 Planning Commission, a public intergovernmental organization.