IOWA DERECHO 2020

FEMA opens drive-thru assistance center in Cedar Rapids

Displaced Iowans may qualify for reimbursement of lodging expenses

The roof is missing from an apartment building Aug. 17 at Cedar Terrace in Cedar Rapids. FEMA has opened a drive-through
The roof is missing from an apartment building Aug. 17 at Cedar Terrace in Cedar Rapids. FEMA has opened a drive-through disaster recovery center in the parking lot of Veterans Memorial Stadium to help people who need documents scanned and questions answered. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

The Federal Emergency Management Center has opened a disaster recovery center in Cedar Rapids and also says it may be able to reimburse people who had to go to a motel because the Aug. 10 derecho damaged their homes.

The lodging benefit applies to residents in the 11 counties designated for FEMA individual assistance. Those counties are Benton, Boone, Cedar, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story and Tama.

The FEMA center is set up to scan documents and receipts for people who need copies to apply for disaster assistance and to quickly answer questions residents may have about FEMA programs.

The drive-thru center is in the parking lot between the Cedar Rapids Kernels Stadium and Kingston Stadium at 950 Rockford Road SW in Cedar Rapids. Visitors are asked to enter the 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 but closed Monday for Labor Day.

Visitors must wear face masks and remain in their cars.

It is recommended people register with FEMA before visiting the center.

People can register online at DisasterAssistance.gov or download the FEMA mobile app for smartphones.

They also can call 1-(800) 621-3362 between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week to register. Multilingual operators are available.

FEMA is not able to reimburse people for food lost after the storm when the electricity was out.

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FEMA representatives at the disaster recovery center also will have information about the Small Business Administration. To contact SBA directly, call 1-(800) 659-2955.

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 DisasterAssistance.gov.

The services are being offered on a drive-through basis because of the pandemic.

Comments: (319) 398-8238; kat.russell@thegazette.com

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