One year since historic flooding hit the bi-state

It’s been exactly one year since historic flooding rampaged parts of the bi-state.
Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 5:50 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - It’s been exactly one year since historic flooding rampaged parts of the bi-state.

Water-filled basements, streets, cars and apartments, destroying people’s belongings.

Flood victim Phillipistine Sims says it took months of recovery to get her life back to a sense of normalcy.

“I never in my wildest dreams would have thought that would have happened to me,” Sims said.

Sims home she rented in University City flooded, leaving her without any belongings and without a place to stay.

“It filled the basement up and it came in the house and it was just swirling through, swirling through,” Sims said. “It came up so far that I was floating on my mattress.”

News 4 first introduced you to Sims after she waited hours in line to get help from FEMA just days after the flood.

The home she rented was condemned and Sims says the help from FEMA only covered about a fifth of the tens of thousands it took her to recover.

“That was a very, very trying time for me,” Sims says.

The kindness of friends, family and her church is what Sims says helped her bounce back and allow her to rent a new home in St. Louis County.

“I thank God that I came through,” Sims said. “I had to go through that to get to this point.”

In St. Louis City, the Ellendale neighborhood was also hit hard just 365 days ago.

Margaret Schellert has lived there for 39 years and watched her belongings float away.

“It was a horrible nightmare to wake up at 3 or 4 in the morning to find water coming in your front door and your back door, meeting in the middle of your house and just branching off to different parts of the rooms,” Schellert said. “The entire living quarters was lost in the flood.”

Schellert said every day for ten weeks her friends and family helped re-build and try to get her life back on track.

“We definitely hold our breath when the rain comes,” Schellert said.

But that wasn’t the case for everyone in the Ellendale neighborhood, as for sale signs pop up down the street.

“There’s a few families that have not come back,” Schellert says. “They walked away and said we’re done, we’re not coming back. We can’t do it for fear, financial.”

Schellert told News 4 it’s hard to believe it’s been a year.

“It’s my faith in God that got me through everything,” Schellert says.

People in the Ellendale neighborhood have been asking for help for years.

The city vowed to help with potential buyouts.

News 4 reached out to the mayor’s office, which tells us the city has submitted an application for state funding.

After a disaster, the state decides how it will spend FEMA mitigation funds. St. Louis City tells News 4 funds have been requested to acquire flooded properties and owners interested in a buyout.

Spokesperson Nick Desideri tells News 4 the state is still reviewing the city’s application

“The City has worked with our partners at the State Emergency Management Agency to submit an application for FEMA’s buyout program. The Mayor’s Office, Building Division, and City Emergency Management Agency remain in communication with the Ellendale Neighborhood Association as well as our state and federal partners regarding said application. This complex process requires coordination between every level of government, and we will continue to share updates when available.”