116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
While already treading uncharted waters in housing demand due to the pandemic, the Aug. 10 derecho storm marked a day when an already critical local housing crisis was submerged into chaos.
Pre-derecho, Waypoint’s Homeless and Housing Services Coordinated Entry call center was already experiencing an elevated call volume of 150 calls per week but in the days following the storm, that number increased to over 300 per day.
Coordinated Entry is a statewide homeless service system that ensures all people experiencing homelessness are quickly identified, assessed and connected to the most appropriate housing intervention. It’s led by Waypoint in Linn, Benton and Jones counties to ensure all households in this region have fair and equal access to services.
The storm caused an unprecedented amount of need for this service that led to Waypoint hiring two additional staff members to increase the program’s capacity. Following the derecho, hundreds of individuals and families were in need of community resources including housing services are were unaware or lacked access to them.
Providing a singular phone number through Coordinated Entry for households to access strategic referrals made it easier for them to find housing services post-derecho. Waypoint worked closely with local providers serving homeowners, renters and displaced households to ensure appropriate referrals were made.
In total last fiscal year, 9,051 people connected with Waypoint due to a housing crisis in comparison to 3,002 the previous fiscal year. Due to the long-lasting impacts caused by the derecho, Waypoint anticipates that the elevated need for housing services will continue well into the storm’s one year anniversary.
Meghan Zalewski is a grant writer for Waypoint.