Operation Threshold Participates in Operation Thaw

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Waterloo, Iowa.  Waterloo mayor Buck Clark, Operation Threshold (O/T) executive director Barbara Grant, Waterloo Water Works general manager Dennis Clark and Black Hawk County Gaming Association (BHCGA) board chairman Tim Hurley announced today an emergency grant program aimed at assisting income-eligible homeowners with the costs for thawing frozen water service lines to their homes.

Hundreds of homes in the Waterloo metro area have reported frozen water lines, with some coping with the loss of water service for several weeks this winter. This situation is nearing epidemic proportions, not just in Waterloo but around the Cedar Valley, in surrounding counties and, indeed, across the state.

Mayor Clark states, “People in Waterloo and the region are experiencing unprecedented hardship with this record breaking, brutally cold winter. In many cases, those suffering through frozen water service lines are experiencing more than just an inconvenience, but an absolute threat to their health and well-being. The willingness of Black Hawk County Gaming to step up and provide immediate emergency funding for at least a portion of those folks is indeed heart-warming and a real testament to the community-mindedness of the Gaming Board. My thanks go out to the Black Hawk County Gaming Association for releasing the funds and to Operation Threshold for accepting the task of administering the funds.

At the request of Mayor Clark and Operation Threshold, the BHCGA has unanimously elected to immediately provide $125,000 to a grant fund administered by O/T to help defray the costs of thawing frozen lines and restoring water service to the home. The initial focus will be on owner-occupied residences whose income levels are at or below 150% of the federal poverty level (FPL). The grant fund will be dispersed to approved applicants on a first come – first served basis in the following counties served by the

BHCGA: Black Hawk, Bremer, Buchanan, Butler, Chickasaw, Grundy, and Tama. Black Hawk County residents may contact the Waterloo Operation Threshold office for further information at 319.292.1868. Buchanan County residents may contact the O/T county office at 319.334.6081. Grundy County residents should contact their O/T offices at

319.824.3460. The Community Action Agencies (CAA) in Bremer, Chickasaw, Butler and Tama counties will be taking applications which will be forwarded to the Waterloo O/T office. For a list of those CAA contacts contact the Waterloo Operation Threshold offices.

“I am so proud of the Black Hawk County Gaming Association board members for unanimously approving this initiative. The main emphasis was to make the funds available as quickly as possible and to help as many people as we could in our seven-county grant area” said BHCGA board chairman Tim Hurley. “There will likely be details to work out as we go along, but we need to get this assistance program started, and we’re definitely partnering with the right organization in Operation Threshold to do just that”, he added.

“We are grateful for the efforts of both the Black Hawk County Gaming Association and the City of Waterloo to address this need in our communities” said Operation Threshold Executive Director Barb Grant. “At a time when everyone is experiencing record heating bills, rising food costs, etc., in many instances low-income families have been unable to afford to have their water lines thawed. This initiative will allow many of these families in our region to meet one of their most basic of needs.”

It is estimated that the average financial assistance per eligible household may be close to $500, but that will vary on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the administrative agency. While the initial focus will be on thawing lines for owner-occupied homes at or below 150% of the FPL, Operation Threshold may consider expanding to 200% FPL eligibility and/or fixing broken lines depending upon the availability of funds.

Individuals and organizations who wish to contribute to Operation Thaw are encouraged to contact the Operation Threshold office in Waterloo.

If you have any further questions please call:

  • Waterloo Mayor Buck Clark                                               319.291.4301
  • Barbara Grant, Operation Threshold                                 319.292.1868
  • Beth Knipp, BHCGA Exec. Director                                   319.433.1153
  • Tim Hurley, BHCGA Board Chairman                                319.493.1488
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