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'I'm homeless': Mother of 3 gets help from newly opened FEMA disaster recovery center in Metro East

FEMA and the U.S. Small Business Administration were on site for those impacted between July 25-28.

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. — Two FEMA disaster recovery centers opened Friday in St. Clair County to help victims impacted by last summer’s flooding.

Victims of flooding July 25-28 began to pour into the Caseyville Village Hall and the Clyde Jordan Senior Citizen Center in East St. Louis.

Alexis Griffin walked in with her three small children.

"We lost everything. We lost clothes, shoes, TVs. My kids don't got shoes on right now," the young mother said.

Griffin told 5 On Your Side she had been living out of her car because she had no money.

“I'm getting some help at St. Vincent de Paul. It's like a shelter. They help. We got to leave in the morning,” Griffin said.

For the next several weeks, survivors will be able to sit down with FEMA representatives and other disaster assistance groups from the state to assess their damages, losses, and assistance eligibility.

Staff said they were starting with an allocated $2 million to give out to those who need it.

"We're helping out renters and homeowners and we want to make sure that advantage of the resources and what they could be eligible for and not try to do that process on their own,” said Tiana Suber, a FEMA spokeswoman.

Representatives with the Small Business Administration(SBA), whom applicants would be referred to, will also be available to provide grant funding and small loans.

"If we're able to make them a loan, they receive the loan at a good interest rate, a low-interest rate for the long term. Up to $25,000 without collateral,” said Mary Gipson, an SBA representative.

Once registered, FEMA representatives advise applicants they could wait about two weeks before they receive funding or a denial letter. The denial letter will have a reason why and if more information is needed.

Registration will be open for three months.

The Metro-East FEMA centers are located at:

Clyde Jordan Senior Citizen Center
6755 State Street
East St. Louis, IL 62203

Caseyville Village Hall
909 South Main Street
Caseyville, IL 62232

Hours of operation are:

Monday – Saturday, 7:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, 7:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

No appointment is necessary to visit a Disaster Recovery Center. Walk-ins are welcome.

Residents can also start the process online at disasterassistance.gov or by calling 800-621-3362.

For needs not covered by insurance or other sources, FEMA may be able provide individual assistance grant money that does not have to be repaid for rental assistance, damage to personal property, lodging reimbursement and basic home repair.

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