(Photo credit: Mesubrata hi / Wikimedia)

During heavy rain, stormwater rushes down streets in Dubuque, Iowa, and floods low-lying areas. Flash floods are a danger to more than a thousand homes.

Sharon Gaul of the city’s housing and community development department says flooding not only damages people’s property. It can force them from their homes and disrupt their lives.

For example, she says to consider “those kiddos that need to go sleep somewhere else that night and get to school the next day and are expected to take the test, just like everybody else.”

So to help people recover after a flood and take steps to prevent future problems, the city of Dubuque developed a comprehensive program.

In addition to paying for solutions like drainage improvements and repairs, it helps families tackle the economic and social struggles that make it harder to cope with floods. For example, advocates connect residents with job training, child care, and educational support.

“When we sit down with that family and really look at their family challenges,” Gaul says, “we become that kind of trusted counterpart to connect them to resources in the community, and then try to have a positive impact on their lives.”

The idea is that community members can be more resilient as climate change brings heavier precipitation to Dubuque.

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Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Weather Extremes