FEMA canvasses neighborhoods across St. Louis, St. Charles area

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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UNIVERSITY CITY (KMOV) - In the two weeks since the historic flooding hit the Metro area, FEMA’s boots remain on the ground here locally. FEMA’s goal is to get flood victims in some of the hardest hit neighborhoods the help they need.

The neighborhoods targeted have been determined by state and local emergency management offices. On Wednesday, FEMA teams canvassed parts of St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County.

University City was hit hard by the flooding, leaving a lot of cleanup weeks later and many homes with condemnation signs on them.

Alphonso Chappelle’s basement was completely damaged by the flood.

“It was kind of traumatizing I wanna say,” Chappelle says. “I was just kind of watching what was going on. A lot of neighbors were in the windows. A lady was over there praying off the bad weather, which that’s how I was taught.”

Chappelle’s car is also a total loss.

“A neighbor called me and told me my car was floating down the street so I opened the door and it was rising and started spinning around,” Chappelle says.

John Mills with FEMA says in the coming days, FEMA will continue going through these hard-hit areas and signing people up for assistance.

“The preliminary damage assessments identified about 750 or possibly more homes with major damage but that may not be the full extent,” Mills says. “These teams go door to door and try to make sure everybody in the area gets the information.”

Renters and homeowners with serious damage may be eligible to get grants through FEMA, which means it doesn’t have to get paid back.

“For temporary rental assistance if they need to relocate or for other serious needs,” Mills says. “They also may be able to get some money for lodging reimbursement if they’ve had to stay in a hotel temporarily because it wasn’t safe to stay in their homes.”

Another multi-agency resource center in north St. Louis reached its capacity by 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, asking people to come back to the Friendly Temple Church on Thursday.

Before 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, that resource center filled its capacity for Thursday’s time slots.

Chappelle went to the resource center in University City last week to get help and was one of the lucky ones to make it inside.

“I’ve never been through anything like this,” Chappelle says. “Nobody I know actually. We see it a lot on television but to experience it firsthand is kind of weird. There have been a few sleepless nights.”

By signing up for FEMA assistance, Chappelle expects to be able to sleep better at night.

“Even though stuff might not happen fast, just knowing the process makes it a lot easier,” Chappelle says. “It eases the mind instead of just not knowing anything.”

Mills says only one person per household needs to fill out an application. You don’t need to meet with FEMA in-person to get this assistance.

You can apply by calling 800-621-3362 or by visiting www.DisasterAssistance.gov.