116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A year to the date since the derecho’s hurricane-force winds pummeled Cedar Rapids, the City Council on Tuesday approved a $1 million allocation to help low- to moderate-income households grappling with storm damage repair their homes.
The council authorized a $1 million grant of federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Housing Fund for Linn County’s PATCH Program, a locally administered initiative that has helped homeowners repair their derecho-damaged homes since it launched soon after the storm.
The Neighborhood Finance Corp., Matthew 25, East Central Iowa Council of Governments and other local nonprofits collaborate on the effort to provide emergency repairs or forgivable loans.
To date, the program has helped over 250 households and administered over $750,000 in funds through the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, United Way of East Central Iowa and private contributions, Community Development Director Jennifer Pratt said.
An administrative agreement will be approved by council at a later date, but the council approved the funding allocation Tuesday.
The city continues to discuss how to allocate its share of $28 million in federal stimulus funds through the American Rescue Plan, which will come through a direct allocation from the federal government.
Pratt said future allocations will come to the council for approval. In the meantime, she said, the city continues to collaborate with local nonprofits and service providers as well as Linn County, whose officials must decide how to allocate its $44 million share of relief funds.
Representatives from the Advocates for Social Justice, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Sunrise Movement — which have campaigned to urge the city to develop more affordable housing with the funds — have been invited to join the Housing Needs Task Force, Pratt said.
City Council member Ashley Vanorny said this funding is important to provide a supportive network for vulnerable community members who lack access to key resources to navigate recovering from a disaster like the derecho. it becomes really important to have that supportive network.
“It’s not just money, but it's the support that comes through working through how to tackle this,” Vanorny said. “ … Because of the partners with Matthew 25 and Waypoint and United Way and everybody who's coming together to do this, it actually becomes really successful in helping people be resilient and repair the damage.”
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