Cedar Rapids is asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to send 500 trailer homes to the city for emergency housing to replace some 4,000 flood-damaged houses. The Cedar Rapids city council heard from frustrated residents last night who have lost their homes, including this woman.
"We need to do something about this housing situation," she says,"we’re all miserable, we’re all at our wits ends, we’re all stressed out…we can’t hardly stand it much long. We’ve got to see some progress, and we’ve got to see some progress now." She says they can’t wait two or three weeks.
Downtown real estate broker Scott Olson says fast action is needed to to prevent business flight. Olson says his biggest concern is that he’s already seen companies begin to move out of downtown permanently. "Because they’re not hearing enough information as to when they might get back, when they might have power, or when these buildings can be remodeled to power back into them," he says.
Olson says the loss of the main businesses will have a ripple effect on the downtown. Olson says he’s concerned if they wait for too long, the downtown will be empty and the other businesses, restaurants and coffee shops that make their livelihood from the downtown business workers, won’t have customers and won’t come back either. "So it’s really becoming a dire situation for these businesses."
The city council hopes to see the first FEMA trailers arriving in the city within 30 days. The Cedar Rapids city manager said Tuesday that around half of the 4,000 homes that were damaged by the flooding would likely have to be demolished.