FEMA Disaster Recovery Center closes, but help isn’t going away

Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 8:49 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Cedar Rapids' FEMA Disaster Recovery Center closed Saturday after being open for nearly a month.

The center was established as a place for people to go if they needed help with applying for FEMA funds or had questions after the August 10th derecho. However, FEMA Officials said help wasn’t going away.

Willie Farley, owner of Willie Ray’s Q Shack on Cedar Rapids' Northeast side, helped thousands of people with free food after the storm. He took to his community cooking up meat that would have otherwise gone bad.

“Helping people and doing what I can for my community has always been a passion,” said Farley.

His passion to help people hasn’t stopped, but he said the number of people asking for help has started to wane.

“People are getting back on their feet, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t still people in need,” he said.

That was exactly what FEMA spokesperson, John Mills said when the center closed Saturday.

“These centers are only open for a short time,” said Mills. “When we start seeing only one or two people a day, we start having that conversation with the state and local EMA about closing and potentially opening in a different community.”

Mills said people can still call FEMA with questions about applying as well as submit paperwork through its website. He said FEMA has already awarded $7.5 million in disaster relief for 2,000 households. The plan was to continue conversations with city and county leaders.

“FEMA is going to continue working with the city of Cedar Rapids and the surrounding areas,” he said. “We’re going to help them get reimbursements from FEMA for at least 75% of eligible disaster-related costs. That would be things like tree removal, emergency protective measures, and work to restore damaged infrastructures in affected areas.”

Just like FEMA said it wasn’t going away, Farley said anyone who needed a bite to eat could stop by.

“We’ve been taking food to the local shelters, and that wasn’t going to stop,” he said. “We’re going to continue to do our part.”

People wanting to apply for FEMA funding need to do so by October 19th.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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