A volunteer grassroots organization in Cedar Rapids is celebrating a major milestone as it continues to help people move back into their home after they were forced out by last year’s flood. Homeowners, organizers, and supporters of the non-profit group, “Block by Block” gathered in the middle of a street in the northwest part of Cedar Rapids Tuesday and celebrated the first rebuilding of an entire block.
The program started in July and brings together religious groups and private donors, along with some tax dollars. Reverend Clint Twedt-Ball is the director of the program. Twedt-Ball says they are on the street and meet with people every other week and the people get to know them and trust them.
“And so, we have been able to get into homes where people really needed help, but they hadn’t been willing to ask for it, because they didn’t want to ask a stranger to help,” Twedt-Ball says. Bishop Julius Trimble of the United Methodist Church in Iowa says it’s a program that is working.
“It’s happening one house at a time, one family at a time and no one seems to be concerned about one person getting the credit for the progress, so we’re just happy to be one of the partners in this block by block,” Trimble says. Trimble says it’s more than just rebuilding homes.
He says the long-term goal is for it to continue to be a thriving community where people of all incomes, all faiths and races can live, and the things that came out of the flooding can be a long-term benefit in terms of collaboration. Volunteers have donated about four thousand hours of labor to Block by Block’s efforts. Representatives from the group say they hope to completely restore eight blocks by the end of the year.