Disaster Preparedness & Response
One of Habitat for Humanity of Iowa's main goals is to help habitat affiliate better prepare and respond to disasters in the state of Iowa. Habitat Iowa does this through multiple avenues including the creation of the DR3 (Disaster Risk Reduction and Response) Committee and by forming the AmeriCorps Mobile Response Team.
Habitat Iowa AmeriCorps Mobile Response Team
Through the partnership with AmeriCorps, Volunteer Iowa, Iowa Economic Development Authority, Iowa Finance Authority, and other key partners, the MRT was formed in 2018. This team was created to respond to disasters across the state of Iowa and supports housing builds in assistance to local Habitat for Humanity affiliates. The MRT consists of a full-time Construction Manager and up to 10 AmeriCorps members, though any Habitat AmeriCorps has the potential to deploy. They are like a team of volunteers able to travel at a moment's notice.
Habitat for Humanity of Iowa’s AmeriCorps Mobile Response Team is an AmeriCorps funded resource for Iowa Habitat Affiliates and Volunteer Iowa and created in 2018.
The team is trained in disaster construction techniques, volunteer engagement, and is ready to respond to disasters anywhere in Iowa. While providing mobile response services, members will be away from home for up to 30 days at a time. Housing accommodations may consist of a campsite, community center basement, or other makeshift location.
Since its creation in 2018, the team has provided direct support to Marshalltown (July 2018 tornado), Southwest Iowa (spring-summer 2019 flooding), Des Moines and Northeast Iowa (Spring 2020 COVID-19 food insecurity), and led the direct deploy for Derecho Response in Cedar Rapids and surrounding area in 2020-2021. In addition to these issues the team has spent large amount of time, deploying to local Habitat affiliates affected by COVID-19. These affiliates were unable to utilize volunteers and MRT was able to step in and safely help repair and build homes for low income Iowans in 2020 and 2021. 2022 the team was sent to Madison County, Iowa for spring tornados and St. Louis County, Missouri for flooding.
The team has experience in mucking and gutting, tarping roofs, debris removal, and other critical repairs. In addition, the MRT has worked alongside long term recovery committees, performing home assessments and safety checks. Habitat has assisted 352 disaster affected households across Iowa. Habitat was able to do this by mobilizing 1,180 volunteers to assist in this work over the past two years.