Derecho 2020 Response

In response to the damage and uncertainty caused by the derecho storm, the City of Hiawatha has compiled a list of resources to answer questions and put the public in touch with organizations providing assistance.

Mental Health
Disaster Relief
Damage and Repairs
Food Assistance

Stay informed

Text & Email

Registered contractors within the City of Hiawatha -

Tips For Hiring Tree Service Service

  • Verify the contractor is properly insured
  • Always get a written estimate before work begins
  • Do not pay upfront
  • No permits required for tree removal / trimming service

Tips To Help Avoid Contractor Fraud

Be aware of the potential for contractor fraud. Storm-chaser scams have exploded in recent years and usually target traumatized homeowners and senior citizens.
  • If you do not have a reliable contractor you have used in the past, ask your insurer to survey the damage and recommend approved contractors before hiring any post- disaster contractor. Provide your insurer with contractor licenses, written estimates and scope of work in detail.
  • Ask your relatives, neighbors and friends who have had good experiences with contractors. Do not hire someone who is just walking from door to door; good ones do not need to solicit work.
  • Be wary of anyone who lists a P.O. Box instead of a street address or does not have a local phone number or in-state license plates. Get everything in writing on letterhead (estimates, materials, prices, completion dates). Never sign a blank contract.
  • Check any potential contractors out online and vet the company. See if they have a website and social media pages and check customer reviews online. Ask for a list of recent projects they have completed in the area and, if possible, email other homeowners who have worked with the contractors before to get their testimonials.
  • Watch what you sign.
  • Professionals pull permits. Be wary of contractors who offer to do their work without proper permitting and inspection. Permits are required by law.
  • Get more than one bid on work, so you know if you are being overcharged. Be wary of large upfront payment requirements. Wait until the repair work is completed to your satisfaction before making the final payment. Do not pay cash or write a check up front.

To Volunteer or Request Assistance

Hiawatha is compiling a list of volunteers and a list of people who need help. If you’d like to be added to these lists please call City Hall at 319-393-1515.

Additionally, the United Way of East Central Iowa, along with Linn Area Partners in Disaster, have established a volunteer reception center. Individuals are encouraged to sign up to help one of three ways:

  1. Sign up online at
  2. Call 224-406-1366
  3. Visit Linn County Emergency Management, located at 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Monday – Friday between 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. to get registered

United Way 211 is working and can connect you to resources. To reach 211, dial 211 on any phone, text your zip code to 899211, or visit

Tree Debris Pickup

The City of Hiawatha Public Works Department has begun picking up branches and debris throughout the City. Branches need to be cut into 12 feet lengths or less. Branches and brush must be separated from other storm debris. Debris can be placed between the curb and sidewalk within the right-of-way. Due to the amount of damage throughout the city it is optimistically estimating to take 2-3 weeks to complete curbside pick-up. More than one pass will need to be made. For convenience and to aid in the clean-up process, locations are currently set up for Hiawatha residents and businesses to drop off storm debris-Tree/Brush only. Please follow all signage posted at these locations to dispose of branches and brush. No other storm debris will be accepted at these locations at this time.

  • Tucker Park parking lot on B Avenue

These services are being provided to Hiawatha residents and businesses only. If you have any questions, please call City Hall at 319-393-1515 or email

Other Debris Pickup

The food waste disposal site is no longer available.

Call your hauler to see what is allowed to be included in your weekly pickup.

City Wide pickup of other debris as a direct reflection of the derecho will be picked up at another time. Sign up for alerts to be notified when this will begin.

Please note, clean up could take weeks to months and city crews will make several passes through the community. Tree debris is a priority at this time.

Do not place debris near fire hydrants.

Linn County Solid Waste Agency

Phone: 319-398-5163

Water Quality

Water quality has not been disrupted and remains safe to drink. Contact the Water Department at 319-393-5556 with questions or concerns.

Parks Update

  • Guthridge, Tucker, and the Dave Wright Family Dog Park remain closed until further notice. This includes:
    • restrooms
    • playgrounds
    • splash pads
    • ball diamonds
    • courts
    • etc.
  • The Hiawatha Farmers Market has been cancelled through the month of August. We will monitor cleanup and adjust dates accordingly.

Food Assistance

Find food pantries through

Food Assistance Replacement

Households who currently receive Food Assistance may request replacement of food destroyed as a result of the recent storm damage, or spoilage as a result of a power outage. As a general rule, food will keep 4 hours if stored in a refrigerator, 24 to 48 hours if stored in a freezer. Households have until September 17, 2020 to complete the form requesting replacement of food loss.

  • Digital submission: Download and complete the application form, (Español) then submit a clear image of the form to:
  • Forms are available at local DHS offices and are also available by mail. Completed paper forms can be submitted to local offices in person, by mail or by fax. Use our DHS Office Locator to find the one nearest you.

Hot Food Waiver

Beginning August 24 through September 21, 2020 Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) and Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT) recipients will be able to use their Food Assistance benefits to purchase hot foods Linn County. Ordinarily excluded from eligibility, this waiver allows foods such as deli counter items, prepared pizza, and other hot meals may be purchased at participating retailers. Find participating retailers here.

Burn Ban

Effective immediately, the burning or incineration of any yard waste, tree stumps, tree limbs, or any storm debris is hereby prohibited. This prohibition shall not apply to outdoor cooking using charcoal, dry firewood, natural or propane gas as a fuel. Citizens can still use dried firewood in a fire pit to cook food for the period of time necessary to prepare the food, but then should extinguish it. Charcoal and propane grills may still be used by single-family homeowners. Charcoal and propane grills larger than a one-pound cylinder have always been prohibited above ground level in multi-family dwellings and will continue to be prohibited. To obtain current air quality standings, visit

Power Outage Updates

MidAmerican Energy -
Alliant Energy -
Linn County REC -
Iowa Association of Electric Coorperatives -

Financial Resources

FEMA Assistance

If you were affected by the August 10 severe storms and are uninsured or underinsured, you may be eligible for FEMA assistance. Assistance provided by FEMA for homeowners can include grants for repairs to make their primary home habitable. Rental assistance is available to pay for temporary housing for homeowners and renters. Financial assistance is available for necessary expenses and serious needs directly caused by the disaster, including: child-care expenses, medical and dental expenses, funeral and burial expenses, damages to essential household items, clothing, tools required for your job, necessary educational materials, fuel for the primary heat source, clean-up items, damage to essential vehicle, moving and storage expenses caused by the disaster and/or other expenses or serious needs as determined by FEMA.

Before you apply have this information available:

  • Social Security Number
    You, another adult member or minor child in your household must have a Social Security number. You or they must also be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.
  • Insurance Information
    Describe the type(s) of insurance coverage you have. This could include coverage under policies like homeowners, flood, automobile, or mobile home insurance.
  • Damage Information
    Describe the damage caused by the disaster. Include the type of disaster (wind) and the type of dwelling or vehicle (like a condo, mobile home or house, or a car or truck).
  • Financial Information
    Provide your total annual household income, before taxes, at the time of the disaster.
  • Contact Information
    Provide the address and phone number of the property where the damage occurred and the address and phone number of where we can reach you now.
  • Direct Deposit Information (OPTIONAL)
    If approved, FEMA can deposit your funds directly into your bank account. You just need to provide the following banking information:
    • Bank Name
    • Type of account (like checking or savings)
    • Routing number
    • Account number

To apply by phone for FEMA assistance, call

1-800-621-3362 (also for 711 and VRS)
TTY 1-800-462-7585

To apply online, visit:





Individual Assistance - Remote Inspections

Housing inspections may be conducted remotely by trained inspectors. Different methods of validation will be used to help make determinations, including:

  • Photo or imagery that is geocoded and visually indicates the damage
  • Visual validation of the home exterior by a FEMA inspector
  • A verifiable contractor’s estimate or structural engineer’s report detailing the repairs needed due to disaster-caused damage to the home
  • Supporting documentation from the state or county reflecting the home is destroyed as a direct result of the disaster
  • FEMA will not make determinations that a home was destroyed solely based on a remote inspection phone call with the applicant.
  • Remote inspections have no impact on some types of assistance available that do not require an inspection. This includes childcare, transportation, moving and storage, and disaster-related medical or dental expenses.

Once your application is submitted, be sure to keep your confirmation number for your records.

General Information for Everyone

  • Please continue removing debris, making repairs, and doing needed work.
  • Document your damage with photos and video.
  • Save all receipts and contractor estimates.
  • Insurance is your first line of defense. Be sure to file your insurance claims. Stay in touch with your insurance company. By law, FEMA cannot duplicate insurance payments.

Individual Disaster Assistance

Iowa Individual Disaster Assistance Grant

IIAGP offers grants to families whose household’s annual income is at 200% or less of the federal poverty level. Each qualifying household MAY receive up to $5,000.00. The IIAGP is activated when the Governor issues a disaster proclamation turning on IIAGP for the affected counties. Please note - if a presidential disaster declaration for Individual Assistance is issued for a county for the same event, the state program is automatically canceled for that county, as the federal program then goes into effect. The federal program does not have an income restriction.

Disaster Unemployment Assistance -

Red Cross Immediate Assistance Program -

Disaster Case Management

Disaster Case Management is a time limited resource and process that involves a partnership between a disaster case manager and a household impacted by a disaster to develop and carry out a Disaster Recovery Plan. This partnership provides the client with a single point of contact to facilitate access to a broad range of resources, promoting sustainable assistance for individual’s and a household’s recovery. These services are client focused, and provided in a manner consistent with standards for trauma-informed practice in human services. 319-739-0056

Crisis Counseling

For 24/7 disaster crisis counseling, call Iowa Concern Hotline at 800-447-1985 Daily from 5-10 PM non-crisis and confidential listening, call Iowa Warm Line at 1-844-775-9276

State & Local Level Referrals 2020