A giant warehouse used to store everything Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity (IVHFH) needs to build and repair homes is a total loss after tornadoes passed through eastern Iowa last week. The ruined 5,760-square-foot space housed construction tools, supplies, materials, safety equipment, vehicles, and trailers.
“Our organization has determined that our clients, staff, and the majority of our most dedicated supporters stayed safe and have been unaffected by last week’s storms, and for that we are grateful,” says IVHFH Executive Director Scott Hawes. “This loss, however, is still devastating.”
The Iowa City warehouse, built in 2016, was used to store the organization’s backstock of materials for building and repairs, such as lumber, windows, and doors. The space was also large enough to park construction vehicles and trailers, and store brand-new appliances destined for Habitat projects. The building also hosted large assembly projects, like framing windows and building walls, as well as workshops for construction techniques, tool identification, safety, and more.
“The warehouse was my dream project for more than a decade,” says construction manager Christy Shipley. I always said we needed a space where we could work with and train volunteers year-round. A space that could store every essential piece of equipment, every tool, backstock supplies, materials, vehicles. Everything we needed to carry out the work we do in our communities. . . . It had been everything we wanted and needed to grow our construction capacity. I’ve asked for a lot of help from our volunteers and supporters in my 17 years with Habitat, but we need you now more than ever. Please consider whatever you can do to lend a hand and help us rebuild this essential space.”
As neighbors throughout IVHVH’s five-county service area (Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Louisa, and Washington counties) react to the damage caused by the storms, the organization is committed to responding to emergency requests for home repairs and major appliance replacements. To continue this critical work without interruption, IVHFH is looking to the support of the community to raise funds and rebuild the Habitat warehouse.
IVHFH has set up a fundraising campaign to collect donations that will be used to cover the cost of rebuilding, including debris removal and general cleanup, insurance deductibles, and replacement of valuable supplies and equipment. To donate, visit Warehouse Rebuild.
IVHFH staff will host volunteers this Saturday, April 8, as a first step in clean-up. “We see this community come together after every disaster,” says Christy Shipley, “and right now we need that support. We will rally a big group of enthusiastic folks who are ready to get dirty and lend a helping hand!”
Volunteers who can assist with cleanup this coming Saturday, April 8, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. must register at Warehouse Clean-Up.