Official: “Those with the least resources will be hurt the most”

Low-income fall prey to ‘scammers’

T-R PHOTO By MIKE DONAHEY Bordered up windows and a tall steel fence surround the Marshalltown Senior Residences, 201 E. Main St. Sunday. All residents, including many low-income and handicapped, were displaced after the apartment complex suffered significant damage from Thursday’s E-3 tornado.

Mid-Iowa Community Action Executive Director Arlene McAtee said she and staff are preparing to help the city’s large number of lower-income residents deal with the tornado’s impact of crushed homes, businesses and morale.

MICA is a social service and referral agency who has worked since the 1960s to serve Marshalltown, Marshall County and several other Central Iowa counties.

“Because the tornado knocked out our power our offices were not open,” McAtee said. “They will re-open Tuesday. However, some of our staff have checked with families who rely on us. Many, many, are confused and stressed. They do not know what resources are available. We work with many refugee families, and are pleased a representative familiar with Asian populations will be coming to assist. We have heard directly from Marshalltown Community School District employees that many children are suffering … that are having challenges getting over the fear and stress of the situation.”

The MCSD, in partnership with Center Associates will be offering counseling to youth and families today through Friday.

(For more information, contact the MCSD, 641-754-1000.)

Additionally, McAtee said her staff would be helping clients at Anson School beginning Tuesday with the state of Iowa’s Individual Disaster Assistance Program, and the Case Management Program. That will be an opportunity for people to come in and we can help them with those programs and make referrals to those in complex situations.

McAtee said she understands some families have suffered major housing losses.

The executive said she and others have been made aware of scams being targeted at low-income.

“Our clients can least afford to be taken advantage of,” she said. “We will be working with clients to educate them, and make them less vulnerable to fraudulent situations. The people who have the least will struggle the most with recovery efforts.”

McAtee said MICA is partnering with Network for Good, which will allow donors to help lower-income residents.

Network for Good asks one to create a profile in order to complete a donation. Donations made through the Network for Good Giving System are safe and secure. Information is only to be used for donor transaction and will not be shared with any other party unless explicitly specified.

First Ward City Councilor Sue Cahill said she, like others, have been thrilled with the support to help tornado victims.

Cahill acknowledged the ward has a significant number of low-income residents.

“I have been overwhelmed with the number of volunteers who turned out to help people not only in the First Ward, but throughout all impacted areas,” she said. “In these trying times, we must look for positive developments, and I have seen many, many since Thursday. Our road to recovery and normalcy will be a long one, but I am confident Marshalltownians will get the job done.”

Second Ward Councilor Gabe Isom said he has been impressed with “neighbor helping neighbor … the amount of generosity has been mind-blowing.”

Isom said the city council will continue to list and evaluate priorities central to recovery.

For more information, contact MICA, 641-752-7162.

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611 or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com