How one nonprofit ensured no one was overlooked through multiple crises

When communities face crisis after crisis, the chances for individuals and households to fall through the cracks and miss opportunities for assistance increases. CDP’s Midwest Early Recovery Fund developed a partnership with Mid-Iowa Community Action (MICA) in 2018 after a tornado impacted Marshalltown, Iowa. Following that event, MICA provided extended disaster case management services to individuals and households across their service area as they recovered.

In early 2020, tornado recovery began to taper off, and the open cases dwindled to just a few; in March, MICA, like most direct-service and assistance providers across the globe, turned all efforts towards pandemic response. On Aug. 10, 2020, the story changed again as a powerful derecho impacted the community. Once again, MICA stepped in to assist individuals and households as they worked to repair their homes and recover from their losses.

Over a year after the derecho damaged homes, work finally began on repairs. The process of navigating state and federal assistance programs and arranging for repairs after a natural disaster is very complex. CDP’s funding of the disaster case management program allowed a case manager to continue to support individuals and households after state-funded case management ended. MICA’s disaster case manager, Maria, helps the families navigate available assistance, including referrals for legal issues, and works with other community resources to ensure that homes get repaired and recovery can begin.

One of these families, who requested to remain anonymous, described the help they received:

“Mid-Iowa Community Action has helped me through this time of disaster. Not only was my house damaged by the storm, but it also led to some legal issues and sleepless nights. Fortunately, my case manager was able to advocate for my home and me. I am so thankful to God for programs like these that have helped so many people in times of need and for the caring hearts of the MICA staff.” (Translated from Spanish.)

MICA’s continued stable presence in the community and commitment to ensuring that no one is missed or overlooked, even amid repeated community shocks, is a testament to the power of building local capacity, funding disaster case management and supporting community-driven recovery efforts.

(Photo source: Mid-Iowa Community Action)