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St. Louis area flood assistance centers overwhelmed as hundreds seek resources

Multi-Agency Resource Centers for flood victims have been slammed with people needing assistance all week.

UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — Hundreds of St. Louis area residents are in need of assistance after historic rain and flash flooding have damaged homes and businesses in the last two weeks.

In order to help residents get as much help in one place, Multi-Agency Resource Centers, or MARCs, have offered one-stop shops for people seeking help. But even those resource centers weren't ready for the massive need in the area.

The resource center in Florissant closed early Wednesday because of weather and Thursday the center in University City cut the line off because it reached capacity. Now, so many are going to have to try to go to another center again.

“It was to the point that I could literally swim from my front door all the way over here to the pool,” flood victim Chris Scott said.

Scott and his service dog, Little Lion, have been displaced from their University City home for more than a week due to historic flooding.

“I haven’t been able to stay there because of all the smell in the basement. I’ve got a service dog. So I’ve had to look at short-term rentals. I lost food. I had freezers and everything downstairs, washer, dryer and all the basics have been lost,” Scott said.

Scott and hundreds of others went to a resource center Wednesday to get assistance but weren't able to get in due to long lines and a weather closure, so many of them tried again Thursday. In University City the line wrapped around the building and down the block for hours.

“Hoping to get some type of funds because I’m not sure how much my insurance is going to give me to replace items like washer, dryer, deep freezer and stuff like that,” flood victim Keisha Nelson said.

Sharon Watson with the American Red Cross said they served nearly 800 people per day at resource centers this week and she has some advice for those who need help.

“Make sure you go ahead and look at all the agencies because every agency has its own categories and criteria for qualifying for assistance with that particular organization,” Watson said.

The residents who have been able to get some assistance said they’re grateful.

“My neighbors came out and helped me pull everything out of my basement. It’s a community here. Just like right now they’ve been up and down giving out water and drinks. This is a community. In University City we stand together,” Kimberly M said.

If you're coming to a resource center for help, they ask that you bring your ID and proof of address like a bill or bank statement.

The City of St. Louis MARC will be held at Friendly Temple Church at 5515 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.

The center will be open Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A makeup date for the MARC at the JFK Community Center that closed early due to severe weather has not been set yet.

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