After record flooding hit Cedar Rapids more than two years ago, another large weeklong home-building effort is being launched today in the eastern Iowa city. Bea Flodeen, spokeswoman for Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity, is helping coordinate what she’s calling a Build-A-Thon. The industrious effort involves more than 500 people who’ll be working through next Thursday.
They’re coming to Cedar Rapids from all over the country to help rebuild, Flodeen says, members of AmeriCorp, Habitat International and VISTA. More than 20 houses will simultaneously be built, rehabilitated or repaired during the project. Flodeen says a lot of planning and preparation has gone into getting to this juncture, as 13 of the 20 houses will be built from the ground up. Still, she says it will all be worth it in a week.
“It’s so rewarding to get to this point where we can see the houses going up and the people all working together,” Flodeen says. “There’s logistics on the one end, but you forget about all that once you actually see the hearts that are affected and changed through this whole process.”
This is the second consecutive year Cedar Valley Habitat for Humanity has hosted a Build-A-Thon as the agency builds affordable housing in a region that was severely flooded in 2008. Flodeen moved from Waterloo to the Cedar Rapids suburb of Marion in 2007 and was there for the devastating flood.
“It didn’t affect me personally but you know, in a way, I think it affected all of us personally, that we all lived in this area,” she says. “It touched everybody, in one way or another.”
Since Habitat was founded in 1976, the ecumenical Christian ministry has built, rehabilitated, repaired or improved more than 350,000 houses worldwide, providing decent and affordable shelter for more than one-point-75 million people. For more information, visit: “www.habitat.org“.