IOWA DERECHO 2020

Derecho help still available for Cedar Rapids area residents

Workers with Jamey Flannery Trucking of Hortonville, Wis., unload their debris trucks with claws Oct. 8 near Third Stree
Workers with Jamey Flannery Trucking of Hortonville, Wis., unload their debris trucks with claws Oct. 8 near Third Street NW and E Avenue NW in Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Residents continuing to grapple with the aftermath of the Aug. 10 derecho have a number of resources available to help meet their needs:

Home repairs

Local funders are supporting a new program to help support repairs for Linn County residents whose homes sustained damage as the community braces for winter.

United Way of East Central Iowa, Alliant Energy Foundation and the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation will award recovery grants to a program called Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners to help nonprofits working to address Linn County residents’ housing needs, according to a news release from United Way.

» Renters: You might qualify for funds if derecho affected you

United Way will provide a grant to support the program’s administration, while the Community Foundation and World Class Industries Inc. will fund construction repair materials.

Residents may call Waypoint to access the program. Displaced renters will be referred to the rental assistance program or entered into an intake system if facing homelessness.

A variety of organizations will serve homeowners based on need. Income guidelines will determine who qualifies for support for the construction program.

Cedar Rapids nonprofit Matthew 25, which has extensive experience in construction, will coordinate repair work. Hawkeye Area Community Action Program and Iowa Legal Aid will provide assistance with Federal Emergency Management Agency applications, insurance claims or other legal needs.

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The Alliant Energy Foundation and United Way will expand the scope of Project Reconnect, the program formed after the derecho to help vulnerable Alliant Energy customers reconnect personally-owned exterior electrical equipment, to support the PATCH program.

Project ReConnect’s funds will provide Matthew 25 with a housing rehab coordinator and will partially fund a coordinator of volunteer efforts along with the Community Foundation. Together, individuals in these positions will coordinate contracted and volunteer efforts to offer housing rehabilitation.

Volunteers and contractors interested in helping with PATCH or offering financial donations to the program may contact Matthew 25 at 319-362-2214. Individuals may direct donations for disaster recovery efforts to the Community Foundation and United Way.

Community members can find more information at hub25.org/patch. Homeowners can call Waypoint at 319-366-7999 to receive assistance for housing repairs through PATCH.

Reporting tree debris

The city of Cedar Rapids in late October completed its first pass of streets to clear tree debris, but expects crews will still be working well into winter to remove fallen trees and limbs.

As of Thursday, crews have removed more than 1,300 right of way tees and trimmed nearly 24,000. Overall, crews have hauled about 2.7 million cubic yards of tree debris.

While crews focused on clearing bulk piles of debris in the first pass, crews are now clearing smaller streets such as cul-de-sacs, dead ends and private roads, and returning to areas with a high volume of debris to pick up additional material or anything missed.

Crews will return to each street multiple times to pick up debris, but if residents feel any debris has been missed they can report it on the city’s website at cedar-rapids.org/tree_debris_removal.php.

A brief survey requires users to identify the location and type of concern — whether it is a missed pile of tree debris or nonorganic storm debris, whether the debris is obstructing drivers’ sight at an intersection, or posing a different concern. Residents may provide identifying information for staff to follow-up and also upload images.

Help with pet food

Cedar Rapids Animal Care & Control will offer a Pet Food Pantry Service from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at its facility at 7241 Washington View Parkway SW.

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The city said in a news release the shelter still has a “healthy supply of food donations” to help meet continuing needs in the community thanks to donations from Hill’s Science Diet and Purina.

Animal Care and Control does not currently have any cat litter available, but there will be a small number of litter coupons from World’s Best Cat Litter available.

All items will be given on a first-come, first-served basis or until the supply is exhausted.

The service will be conducted as a drive-thru with social distancing protocols in place. Individuals must wear a mask and will be asked to remain in their vehicles while volunteers place the food in their cars, ensuring minimal contact in the process.

Individuals with questions may contact Program Manager Ronald Schlabs at 319-286-5993 or email him at r.schlabs@cedar-rapids.org.

Comments: (319) 398-8494; marissa.payne@thegazette.com

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