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Habitat for Humanity Salvages Items from Flood Houses

Posted at: 12/29/2012 10:42 PM
By: Brittany Lewis

(ABC 6 News) -- A 2008 flood in Mason City left more than 1,000 buildings damaged. Some of them are homes that the city purchased, with plans to remove them from flood prone areas. 45 of the homes are set to be demolished in the next few months, but one group is working to find some good among all the rubble.

Several houses in the Meadowbrook area are boarded up with a yellow demolition sign taped to the front door. They’re remnants of the 2008 flood with some houses damaged and others located in flood hazard areas. With the help of FEMA and other government agencies, the city was able to buy out houses at their fair market value.

The city bought out 170 homes. Some have been demolished, others like this one will be in the next few months. But inside these homes are items like toilets and vanities, items that could be saved.

Among the fallen insulation, 8 volunteers for Habitat for Humanity salvaging whatever they can from this house before it is demolished.  

"We took the copper out of the house this morning and we're taking windows out this afternoon,” said Bruce Dykstra, a volunteer.


Habitat for Humanity has been working with the city on the buyout homes for the past few years, saving items that might otherwise be destroyed.

"We have volunteers that are helping us to save a lot of great items or cabinet doors, vanities, furnaces, water heaters and things like that, that are just going to get thrown in the landfill if we can't get them out first,” said Melissa Schoneberg, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of North Central Iowa.

45 houses are in the next round of demolitions, set for January and February.

"Most of the houses have great items in them. They're really move-in ready, but they're still gonna be demolished because of the flood zone changes,” said Schoneberg.

The items saved will go to Habitat Restore and will be for sale to the public. The proceeds will help build houses for next year.

"You know there are gonna be a lot of families that will benefit from all these items that are recycled in the community so it really is a positive way to help a lot of people from the bad effects of the flood,” said Schoneberg.

Inside the boarded up homes, an opportunity for new ones.

Volunteers are still needed to work on some of the houses. You’re encouraged to contact Habitat for Humanity North Central Iowa at (641) 424-8978.