The "polar vortex" is here and the City of Cedar Rapids is partnering with community organizations to provide free or discounted services this week to residents seeking shelter or assistance.

Cedar Rapids Transit

Free bus rides will be offered all day Wednesday and Thursday, January 30 and 31, from 5:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m. Residents are encouraged to stay home if at all possible but those who must travel or commute and need this service can use it for free. The Ground Transportation Center is open to the public as a warm space.

Cedar Rapids Public Library

The library is opening one hour early at 8 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday for residents to seek shelter during library hours. This includes the downtown (450 5th Ave. SE) and Ladd (3750 Williams Blvd.)  branches. Pastries and hot drinks available while supplies last.

NewBo City Market

The market is opening as a warm space from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. No market vendors will operate during this time. Soup, tea, coffee and hot chocolate will be available in Rotary Hall. Visit the NewBo City Market website or call 319-200-4050 for more information.

Willis Dady Homeless Shelter

Willis Dady and the City of Cedar Rapids are coordinating to allow the main overflow shelter to remain open during the day, with food from Hy-Vee provided. You can donate hats or gloves. They have not indicated the need for coats, blankets or additional food. Willis Dady is located at 1247 4th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403

Those in need of further assistance and help connecting with community resources for your specific needs are encouraged to contact United Way 2-1-1. United Way 2-1-1 is a free, confidential information and referral helpline and website serving 42 counties in Iowa.

Contact 2-1-1 24 hours a day, seven days a week:

Landline: 2-1-1

Mobile: 319-739-4211

Toll free: 1-866-469-2211

Text your zip code to 898211

Visit 211iowa.org

Stay warm!