116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Linn County is slated to receive the lion’s share of nearly $57 million awarded to the state by the federal government to assist with long-term recovery from the August 2020 derecho.
The Iowa Economic Authority is administering $56.94 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery funds, 80 percent of which must be spent in Linn County — nearly $45.6 million.
According to Kanan Kappelman, IEDA communications and tourism leader, the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development determined the county was the “most impacted and distressed” area.
Kappelman wrote in an email that the state is currently determining where to allocate the remaining 20 percent among the counties included in the presidential disaster declaration for the storm.
As part of the requirements determined by HUD, 70 percent of these funds must benefit low- to moderate-income individuals and 15 percent of the funds must be spent on activities to mitigate the risks of future disasters.
“This can include future derecho events in addition to other disasters identified in county hazard mitigation plans,” Kappelman wrote.
Eligible local entities will have an opportunity to apply to programs that will later be established. These programs will be determined based upon unmet needs from the disaster and public input through a survey open through Feb. 28, community discussions, a public hearing and other methods, Kappelman said.
Examples of potential programs could include rehab programs, new construction of low-to-moderate income owner-occupied housing, and new construction of low-to-moderate income rental housing.
New construction or units significantly rehabilitated must comply with green building standards and disaster resiliency standards that HUD requires. Other programs may include infrastructure programs and natural disaster mitigation programs.
After gathering the data, survey responses and conducting community meetings, Kappelman said the state will draft an action plan. This plan is expected to be available for 30 days of public comment in May. After reviewing that input, Iowa will submit the action plan for HUD’s review in June.
Cedar Rapids Community Development Director Jennifer Pratt said the eligible uses for these funds will help guide future allocations of the city’s federal American Rescue Plan Act funds for housing projects to maximize the benefit from this influx of resources. The City Council on Tuesday signed off on $3 million in funding for 14 housing and social service projects that stemmed from a joint application process with Linn County.
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