During a visit to Cedar Rapids this week, Governor Chet Culver expressed concern about the mental stress flood victims are suffering. "We have tens of thousands of people in this state that are hurting," Culver says. The governor says flood victims need help when the water’s gone just as much as they needed help when the water was high.
"I think what everyone needs to understand is that this phase of the recovery and the rebuilding is no different than the emergency response," Culver says. "It shouldn’t be treated any differently." Scott Jamieson runs a non-profit agency in Cedar Rapids that provides a wide range of services, including mental health counseling.
"Now, as I sit here today we have another $250,000 a year in operating expenses that we are incurring with a way that we’re not certain what the clear path for how that’s going to be reimbursed to us at a time when our services are probably more needed than they ever have been in town," he says.
The Cedar Rapids City Council has given the Horizons agency money to expand its credit counseling services to needy residents. The Horizons office was located in the Czech Village neighborhood of Cedar Rapids and its office was flooded.
Jamieson says the agency’s first priority right now is to let flood victims and others know help is available. According to Jamieson, flood victims are suffering under a mental grind of "immense darkness" because of the challenges involved in cleaning up and moving on after the flood. Jamieson and Culver made their comments during a meeting with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama.