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Residents at disabled housing apartment in Cedar Rapids still dealing with storm aftermath

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 6:24 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Residents at a HUD-subsidized apartment building in Cedar Rapids are among those still without power after the devastation brought by last week’s derecho.

At the Robert E. Schorg Manor, residents, who are mostly elderly and disabled, said their living conditions have been horrible.

“It’s been a lot of stress, depression, and really emotional,” Amanda Meyers, who’s lived in the manor for nearly 3 years with her mom, said. “We don’t have power. We’re running off a generator. We check on each other as much as we can. We go upstairs, and check on the people up there because they can’t use the elevator because there’s no power.”

At the disabled low-income housing apartment, the hallways are dark, with no air conditioning and fridges are empty or filled with spoiled food. The residents said management is not assisting.

“The landlord has only been here twice during the storm and only checked on two residents,” Meyers said.

“When the property manager was here last night, we followed her around the building. She did not want to talk to us,” Eric Hansen, Owner and EMT with Helping Hands Activity Volunteer Program, said.

Hansen said they’ve been on the scene since last week.

“We have been doing checking everybody’s vitals, checking oxygen and doing diabetic testing,” Hansen said. “I sent quite a few people out to the hospital. On Wednesday night alone, we sent two people to the hospital for minor injuries for slipping and falling.”

Hansen said one person is in critical condition. Organizations have stepped in to help with water, ice, and a generator. Mercy Chefs along with Convoy of Hope started providing food.

“We’re doing 5,500 meals a day here in Cedar Rapids and so were going to bringing meals to the folks here every day at lunch and dinner,” Gary LeBlanc, founder of Mercy Chefs, said. “As we pulled into town, I immediately began to recognize debris and destruction that resembled tornadoes and hurricanes that we’ve worked in the past. We were startled by this much damage and there hasn’t been that national exposure and recognition of the need here in Cedar Rapids.”

As far as what’s needed most now, Hansen said it’s basic necessities.

“Basic needs, right now, are to make sure to keep these generators running and of course that needs gas, and were looking for nonperishable foods and helping with meals for evenings,” LeBlanc said.

However, residents say they are more worried about the future. “We need new maintenance and management. It’s hard. The landlord, she doesn’t care,” Meyers said.

KCRG-TV9 tried reaching out to management about the living conditions here, but got no response in time for this story. Hansen told us as of Tuesday night the manager actually quit.

People who want to help can reach out to Hansen, through the Helping Hands website.

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