A new study says low-income people were hit hardest by this year's flooding and that the state should take this into account when designing its rebuilding plans.
The study by the Iowa Fiscal Partnership focused on Cedar Rapids, which saw the most significant flooding. It found that the poverty rate of those inundated by the floods in Cedar Rapids was 12.9 percent, far higher than the city generally and twice as high as Linn County's overall rate.
"Those directly affected by flooding in Cedar Rapids live and work in areas that are substantially poorer than most of their community and the state," said Charles Bruner, head of the Child and Family Policy Center.
The fiscal partnership is a joint initiative of the generally liberal-leaning Child and Family Policy Center and The Iowa Policy Project.
The state has a poverty rate of 8.8 percent, Bruner noted. In the study, the group found that while Linn County and Cedar Rapids are generally more prosperous than the state as whole, the same can't be said for the flooded areas.
The Iowa Fiscal Partnership study included a series of principles it said should guide the state as officials formulate a response to the flooding.
"Relief and rebuilding assistance efforts should be focused on those impacted by the disaster itself," the study said. "There should be a particular emphasis and priority on those who face the most challenges in rebuilding; primarily low-income families with limited resources and elderly on fixed incomes."
State officials have estimated the state suffered up to $10 billion in damage during the flooding, with Cedar Rapids and Linn County among the hardest hit areas.