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Some receiving FEMA help say they need more

Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 11:02 PM CDT
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SHELLSBURG, Iowa (KCRG) - It has been nearly two weeks since individuals outside Linn County could apply for FEMA help.

That money can be used for home repairs, rental assistance, or to replace items lost in the storm, but some said the additional dollars haven’t been enough.

“It’s been incredibly hard not being able to provide your family with home-cooked meals like you used to,” said Lisa Jordan of Shellsburg. “Our kids can’t bathe like they used to.”

Lisa Jordan lived in a mobile home at the Timber Ridge Mobile home park with her boyfriend and two kids. The storm ravaged the house leaving it uninhabitable. A small camper was now parked behind the house. That’s where the four eat, sleep, and live. She received $2,800 in FEMA rental assistance to help find her a new place and replace some of her belongings but said the extra dollars weren’t enough.

Jordan was still being asked to pay for the mobile home rent as well as the land it sat on.

“I love my children so much, and I see the hurt on their faces every single day that we can’t go back into that home,” she said.

“A lot of people have been through, and continue to go through, a traumatic ordeal because of the August 10 Derecho,” said John Mills of FEMA. “We’re working to help as many people as we can.”

Mills said everyone’s situation is different. While more than 4 million dollars of FEMA funding has been issued for individual assistance in Iowa, those in need of more help should reach back out.

“You can stay in touch with FEMA and we can approve people for continued rental assistance on a case by case basis,” he said.

Mills said anyone being asked to pay rent for a property they can’t live in should also contact Iowa Legal Aid.

While Jordan worries about finding a warmer place to live before winter, help started coming differently.

“She’s living in a pop-up camper with her kids, and I wasn’t sleeping well with that on my head,” said Kendra Aarhus of Palo.

Aarhus of Palo started rehabbing a mobile home she received from the park to give to Jordan and her family. The mobile home needed to be completely rebuilt, but it was still on its foundation. She did ask for donations of supplies and volunteers to get the home livable before winter. It was her way of thanking strangers from her past.

“When I was a young child my mom lived in a trailer home,” she said. “We always had help from people. I didn’t know the people that are helping were volunteers. When I see people in the same situations I know they can get out of it.”

Jordan and her family were just grateful to have people on their side after the storm took everything.

“When I first saw the home after the storm I started to cry,” she said. “The only home that I built for my children and I worked so hard for was no longer livable.”

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