Big changes are on the way to the process of assigning volunteers to rebuilding projects in Cedar Rapids. Since the floods hit in June, thousands of volunteers have helped clear debris and gut homes. But, many of those workers had never worked in a disaster situation before.
Flood victim Frank King says everyone appreciated their efforts, but they weren’t necessarily the right people for the job. "The volunteers made some mistakes that were costly in dollars, time and frustration," King said. Now, a new crop of volunteers with much more experience will help the city rebuild. King donated his flood-damaged home to one of those groups.
Skilled and experienced craftsmen from the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, including Mike Tigchelaar, will use King’s house for shelter while they work on projects. "If you’re going to do a job, you better do it right, or don’t bother doing it. That’s our motto," Tigchelaar said.
The Long Term Recovery Coalition has also hired a construction coordinator to monitor projects. Coalition member Leslie Wright says the goal is to make sure the next round of volunteers have more experience. "We’re doing a more formal process where the homes are assessed and we sign agreements with the homeowner so they feel comfortable and understand the work being done on their home," Wright said. The Long Term Recovery Coalition has more than one-and-a-half-million dollars to help flood victims restore and repair their homes.
If you’d like to contact the coalition, call 319-261-0987.