Three months after the derecho that devastated much of Linn County, housing remains one of the most pressing needs. A new revolving loan fund has been established to help homeowners repair homes that were damaged in the storm.
Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust provided a lead gift of $100,000 to establish the revolving loan fund. The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation and United Way of East Central Iowa have each contributed $50,000 to match it, totaling $200,000 available for loans.
The fund is part of the housing repair program called Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners (PATCH). This intense collaboration of funders and nonprofit organizations has recently began making minor repairs with volunteer labor on homes of qualifying homeowners. PATCH is funded by the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, United Way of East Central Iowa, and Alliant Energy Foundation, and implemented by Linn County Community Services, Housing Fund for Linn County, Matthew 25, Waypoint, HACAP, Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity, Neighborhood Finance Corporation, ECICOG, City of Cedar Rapids, and the City of Marion.
Funding gaps and timeline challenges due to delays in FEMA assistance or insurance payments have been identified by area homeowners as barriers to recovery.
“Many of our neighbors need the dollars now to be able to get necessary home repairs started,” said Kristin Roberts, President and CEO of United Way of East Central Iowa. “We know this revolving loan fund will allow our community members to start critical work before winter arrives in full force.”
PATCH participants can borrow from the revolving loan fund until their benefits arrive, and then pay back the fund when FEMA or insurance funding is granted. Some loans that fill gaps not covered by insurance or FEMA may also be forgivable, to offer a financial boost to qualifying homeowners affected by derecho.
“We wanted to be part of our community’s recovery and support families as they repair their homes,” said James Klein, President of Cedar Rapids Bank & Trust. “We’re grateful to be able to collaborate on this important project and are thankful for the opportunity to give back to our community that has given so much to us over the years.”
Qualifying homeowners can apply for up to $15,000 from the fund, which is administered by the Housing Fund for Linn County and the Neighborhood Finance Corporation. A grant from the Community Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Fund has funded a program administrator hired to oversee the program.
Associates from TrueNorth are also participating in the collaboration by helping PATCH participants navigate their insurance and FEMA claims, payments and questions.
“This is a wonderful example of how collaboration is critical after a disaster,” said Les Garner, President & CEO of the Community Foundation. “So many organizations have come together to respond, and that is what makes this a such a great community.”
Homeowners can access PATCH and the revolving loan fund by contacting Waypoint at 319-366-7999.