Homeowner requests for assistance with housing repairs from damage sustained in the August 10 derecho through the Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners (PATCH) Program have increased. Two local funders, who helped with initial funding to launch the PATCH Program in the fall of 2020, announced today that a combined $1.45 million has been granted to help meet this community need. The Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation has granted $950,000 from its Disaster Recovery Fund and United Way of East Central Iowa (UWECI) has granted $500,000 from its Disaster Recovery Fund.
“This is a critical time in our community’s recovery,” says Les Garner, President & CEO at the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation. “Home repair has emerged as the greatest human need in responding to the derecho. We are pleased to be able to work with our partners at United Way to respond to this need.”
The need for housing repairs was identified in the fall of 2020 based on data from the City of Cedar Rapids, Linn County, and nonprofit organizations. Several nonprofit organizations including Waypoint, Housing Fund for Linn County, Neighborhood Finance Corp, Matthew 25, Habitat for Humanity, Hawkeye Area Community Action Program (HACAP), and Iowa Legal Aid came together to form PATCH, a collaborative effort to help homeowners repair their homes. UWECI, the Alliant Foundation and the Community Foundation made grants to PATCH to provide for immediate repairs to structurally damaged housing and to establish a Revolving Loan Fund to provide financing for homeowners. World Class Industries provided seed funding for home repair and Cedar Rapids Bank and Trust Company provided seed funding for the Revolving Loan Fund. In the fall, the total amount of funding made available for this initiative from all sources was $550,000.
“We knew the original dollars given was a starting point for PATCH,” said Kristin Roberts, President & CEO at UWECI. “As stories about families struggling with insurance companies, having mold overtake their homes, and balancing the financial impact of a dual disaster with COVID came forward, UWECI valued the opportunity to work with the Community Foundation, as it allowed us to take care of our community members as funding leaders.”
With the arrival of spring, requests for assistance to PATCH have increased from 14 in February to 42 in March and remained steady in April. The average cost for repairs has increased from $3,000 to $14,000, as PATCH has encountered rising construction costs and increasing instances of under insurance.
If requests continue to arrive at the current pace, the total need for assistance, including repairs to homes and mobile homes and loan funds, could exceed $2 million by the end of August. The grants from the Community Foundation and UWECI will give PATCH the ability to continue making repairs while funding from other sources are pursued.
The Community Foundation’s Disaster Recovery Fund was opened in August 2020 and has raised $2,068,355 from 1,876 donations from donors in all fifty states and two countries. To date, the Community Foundation has granted $1,392,964 from this fund for recovery efforts and will continue to accept grant applications for funding to nonprofits, as needed.
“Without support from donors, we would not be in a position to respond to this critical need at this critical point in our community’s recovery,” says Garner.
UWECI’s Disaster Recovery Fund also opened in 2020 and has raised $2,000,917 from just over 2,950 donations from donors in all fifty states, D.C., and five countries.
“So often the person on the other end of the line said, ‘Make sure it gets into the hands of those who need it.’ Allocating over a half a million dollars in total to PATCH ensures donor’s wishes are followed,” Roberts added.
UWECI continues to accept grant applications from nonprofits and has granted $1,346,946 from its Disaster Recovery Fund.
Volunteers and contractors interested in helping with PATCH are encouraged to contact Matthew 25 at 319-362-2214. Financial donations supporting PATCH can be directed to Matthew 25. More information can be found at hub25.org/PATCH.
To receive assistance for housing repairs through PATCH, homeowners can call Waypoint at (319) 366-7999.