The funds will extend an effort already in place to help Iowans cope with the coronavirus pandemic. Karen Hyatt, at the Iowa Department of Human Services, says the program called Covid Recovery Iowa offers crisis counseling over the phone or online, as well as virtual support groups.
“Since the derecho hit, we have seen an increase in all of those ways that people get ahold of us,” Hyatt says, “and the main thing, I would say 90% of the need right now is housing and finances.” Staff are retooling the program so it will be inclusive for derecho survivors, who report struggling to pay bills and securing long-term housing.
Hyatt says the pandemic is changing the program’s rollout. “We train the staff to go where the people are, and we work very hard at that,” Hyatt says. “In this grant, it’s the flip of that, right? It’s making sure that enough people know about it, but they have to come to us.” The new grant will extend Covid Recovery Iowa through June of 2021.
Services are available online at covidrecoveryiowa.org and by phone at 844-775-9276.
(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)