ROCK VALLEY, IA (KELO) — It looks a lot different in Rock Valley, Iowa Monday night than a week ago. The floodwaters have receded, leaving homeowners dealing with extensive damage. For those whose homes are now considered unsafe, it’s time to start making difficult decisions.

Officials with the city of Rock Valley estimate between 80 and 100 homes have been red-tagged, meaning the structures are unsafe.

“As a red tag, that doesn’t mean that the house can’t be saved, and actually, we’re encouraging people to keep those options open. They could be jacked up and have new basements put in them,” Rock Valley city administrator Tom Van Maanen said.

Leah Vink’s home is one of the many with a red tag.

“My whole basement was completely destroyed. The north wall collapsed. Partially, most of the west wall collapsed as well,” Leah Vink said.

However, her home can be salvaged.

“Financially, the best thing for me to do is to save my house, so my goal is to raise my house up, dig out my basement and then pour a new foundation in,” Vink said.


But, some homeowners won’t be so lucky. Depending on funding from grants, the city could buy homes that have a history of flooding.

“If the city does end up purchasing a property, perpetually, it becomes green space and nothing. No structure will ever go back on that property,” Van Maanen said.

Whether people rebuild their homes or sell them, it’s going to take time. Thankfully, temporary relief is on the way.

“The state of Iowa is currently working on a plan for the displaced people, not just in Rock Valley, but all of the communities that have suffered disasters this year. We don’t know what shape and form the temporary housing is going to be, but we’re expecting their plan to be unveiled this week,” Van Maanen said.

City administrators will not know how much grant money they will receive to buy homes for about six months. FEMA has also been in town and is assisting people with costs for temporary housing and essential appliances.

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