First Multi-Agency Resource Center in East St. Louis reaches capacity; another to open on Sunday

Published: Aug. 6, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (KMOV) - Many residents in the Metro East are still focused on recovering from the flood.

A Multi-Agency Resource Center for flood victims opened on Saturday at East St. Louis High School. It’s a one-stop shop for information and supplies for families in St. Clair County.

The resource center reached capacity just after 12 p.m. on Saturday. This comes after resource centers in University City and North St. Louis also quickly reached capacity earlier this week.

The capacity at the center in East St. Louis was 250 families for the day.

East St. Louis resident Jessica Kovarik says she’s thankful to have gotten there early and had access to those resources.

“I got lucky I got in here,” Kovarik says. “I couldn’t imagine if I was any later because when I got in here they were seeing the 39th person and I’m 200.”

Kovarik says this is the third time she’s dealt with flooding since living in the area. The most recent flooding made her mobile home unlivable, causing damage to the floors and the roof.

“There’s mold all along the bottoms of the walls,” Kovarik says. “There’s mud about 2-and-a-half inches thick everywhere under the mobile homes. Inside you can see thick layers of mud.”

Kovarik says her concern is not being able to wait for repairs to be made since there are delays in access to that help. By going to the resource center, she hopes there’s another solution.

“I’m hoping to get help with just trying to get on our feet again,” Kovarik says.

Shortly after opening, the resource center hit capacity and started turning people away, telling them to come back on Sunday.

Executive Director of the American Red Cross in Greater St. Louis Beth Elders says the organizers have already started creating plans for how they can meet the demand.

“The need continues and right now we’re in the midst of conversations with all of our partner agencies, with our state emergency management agencies, of how we can best continue to serve the communities with additional resource centers in the week ahead,” Elders says.

East St. Louis homeowner Abdul Zarif says he’s lived in the community since 1995.

Zarif says this is the worst flooding he’s seen, filling up his basement and parts of the main floor with water.

“It’s just a bad situation,” Zarif says. “We haven’t been able to go to the house and get in. Not yet. But the water is going down some now.”

With water still in parts of his home, Zarif says getting that and the debris removed is at the top of his priority list.

“We just wanna get it cleaned up and be able to get back in the house and things of that nature,” Zarif says. “We were just trying to see what they could offer.”

The resource center will be open at East St. Louis High School on Sunday from 12-5 p.m. The capacity for Sunday’s center will also be 250 families. Organizers are encouraging people to show up early to secure their spot in line.

The Red Cross also tells News 4 that plans for additional centers in north St. Louis were finalized Saturday.

The resource center at Friendly Temple Church will be open Tuesday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will be open to flood victims on both sides of the river.