Where to get help: Resources for residents after the derecho

Local governments and other organizations continue to provide resources for residents affected by the Aug. 10 derecho. Here is where you can find food, water, free meal distribution sites, shelters, WiFi, charging stations and other needs in the Cedar Rapids area. We'll provide updates here as we learn new information. 

» FINANCIAL HELP: Where and how to apply for FEMA aid and other financial help

» MORE RESOURCES: Directory of government and nonprofit help for residents

Updated Sept. 14, 2020

FEMA storm-assistance center open in Cedar Rapids

The Federal Emergency Management Agency opened a drive-thru disaster recovery center in Linn County on Wednesday, Sept. 2, where residents affected by the storm can get more information and submit documents for their disaster assistance application.

The center is in the parking lot between Cedar Rapids Kernels Stadium and Kingston Stadium at 950 Rockford Rd. SW, Cedar Rapids. Visitors are asked to enter the parking lot from the corner of Veterans Memorial Drive and Kurt Warner Way. The center will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. 

It is highly recommended residents register online or by phone before visiting the site. Options to register are: 

 Download the FEMA mobile app for smartphones

Call 1-800-621-3362 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. central time, seven days a week. Multilingual operators are available.

• For 711 or Video Relay Service, applicants can call 1-800-621-3362, or for 800-462-7585 for TTY services.

FEMA personnel will be available to answer questions about disaster assistance programs and scan documents. These staff members will only be able to take documents, scan them and return them to the applicants. Representatives also will have information from the Small Business Administration on hand. To contact SBA, please call 800-659-2955.

The center will not be able to provide assistance for lost food.

Residents who have homeowner’s insurance and whose homes sustained damage from the derecho are encouraged to mail or fax their insurance documents to FEMA, but it is not required. Additionally, those who don’t have access to the internet or a fax machine can bring those documents with them to the recovery center and representatives will help upload those documents to

Applicants and FEMA personnel must wear face masks and applicants must remain in their cars as they hand their documents to FEMA personnel.

Displaced Iowans may qualify for reimbursement of lodging expenses

Iowans who have registered with FEMA may also be eligible for reimbursement if they paid out-of-pocket expenses for temporary lodging because their primary residences sustained damage from the Aug. 10 derecho. The 11 counties designated for FEMA Individual Assistance are: Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama.

Temporary lodging includes hotels, motels, or other short-term lodging while an applicant is displaced from his or her primary residence.

Lodging expenses may be eligible for reimbursement if an applicant:

Registers with FEMA.

 Passes identity verification.

 Verifies occupancy in a primary residence within a designated county.

 Verifies that the primary residence is uninhabitable or inaccessible.

 Incurs disaster-related temporary lodging expenses.

 Does not have insurance that would cover lodging.

 Did not receive lodging assistance during the same time frame.

Reimbursement funds are available for eligible applicants under FEMA’s Individuals and Households Program.

Applicants approved for lodging reimbursement must submit hotel/motel receipts that show a zero balance to FEMA to receive payment. Reimbursement will not cover incidental costs such as phone calls, laundry, internet, food, movies or pet care.

Free WiFi locations available in Cedar Rapids

ImOn Communications

 Downtown Cedar Rapids

 McGrath Amphitheatre (475 1st St SW)

 NewBo City Market (1100 3rd St SE)

 Cedar Rapids ImOn Ice Arena (1100 Rockford Rd SW)


Stoney Point YMCA (300 Stoney Pt Rd SW)

 Best Buy parking lot (4650 1st Ave NE)

 Mediacom Office (6300 Council Street NE)

 Hy-Vee (3600 Business Hwy 151, Marion)

 Craft Fitness/Graybill parking lot (205 Miller Rd, Hiawatha)

EBT cards can be used to purchase hot food in Linn County 

The Department of Human Services is making a temporary rule change to allow Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) and Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) recipients to purchase hot foods with their Food Assistance benefits in Linn County.

The presidential disaster proclamation following the Aug. 10 derecho allows federal programs to alter or change their rules as communities recover from a disaster. Ordinarily excluded from eligibility, this waiver allows foods such as deli counter items, prepared pizza, and other hot meals to be purchased with EBT or P-EBT benefits from Aug. 24 through Sept. 21, 2020.

Families can use their EBT or P-EBT cards and can make the purchases at any participating retailer in Linn County. This waiver is only available for Linn County. Recipients can use the USDA's SNAP retailer locator to find all participating retailers.

For more information on DHS derecho resources, visit the department's website.

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