Flood Crisis Fund for students financially hurt by flooding

| Junior News Editor

Pictures taken near North Campus during floods in late July 2022. Courtesy of Kathy Anderson.

Washington University announced a one-time Flood Crisis Fund (FCF) to support Danforth and Medical Campus students on Aug. 26. 

St. Louis experienced record-breaking rainfall this summer, setting a new high for daily precipitation since records began, resulting in floods that impacted members of the University and wider St. Louis community. 

The FCF was created to “assist students universitywide who were impacted and incurred financial costs directly related to the regional flooding July 25-29 and Aug. 3-5,” according to the email sent by Dr. Anna Gonzalez, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. 

“Expenses that have already been submitted for reimbursement or have already been reimbursed or covered by external organizations, such as insurance companies or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will not be eligible for funding requests,” Gonzalez wrote.

Gonzalez’s email also noted that limited funding pool will be allocated based on need.

“WashU students can submit an application for a one-time payment (up to $1,000) to help cover eligible essential expenses, which include housing assistance, transportation allowance, child care costs, food and grocery, and remediation services.” 

Student Life spoke with several students and alumni who experienced the floods while living in St. Louis this summer. 

Rachel Wolff, a junior who lived on Waterman Boulevard over the summer, was taking a class at the University that had to accommodate for the flood. “We had Zoom recordings from previous sections,” Wolff said. “I would not have been able to make it to school; there was no way it was safe to drive.” 

Junior Jasmine Davy also stayed on Waterman this summer for her internship and her sublet was affected by the floods. “Any car smaller than an SUV was completely stuck in water,” she said. “There was no way for many people to leave their apartments or get help.”

However, Davy said she escaped the flood with minimal consequences, “I’m lucky that I did not experience any permanent damage. I know many were not this fortunate.”

WashU alumna Zoe Cooke ‘21 was not so lucky. “I woke up to the alert,” she said. “When I walked into my apartment common room, it was covered in mud.”

“My car was completely totaled,” she said. 

Cooke highlighted the long-term effects of the flood on her life. “We didn’t have AC or running water for a while,” she said. “It took a long time for Missouri to be declared a disaster zone and for financial aid to be available to us, but even then it’s mostly for home losses.” 

President Joe Biden approved a disaster declaration for St. Louis on Aug. 8, 11 days after the end of the first episode of flooding.

Cooke, along with current students, cannot receive financial aid from the state because she is not a homeowner. Her totaled car, for instance, was not covered. “I’ve always had pretty much zero family assistance, so it’s been really difficult,” she said. 

Like Davy, Cooke acknowledges that other community members have experienced more hardships from the flood than she did. “My coworker and close friend fared a lot worse — she lives in Maplewood and lost both cars and almost her home. The insurance has been a nightmare because they’re exploiting the situation, and valued her home for one-third of what it’s worth and refuses to cover the flooding in her basement due to something called ‘concurrent causation,’” she said. 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved over $33 million in support for St. Louis Area Residents.  

The application window for the FCF runs from Aug. 29 through Sept.9 and can be found in the email announcement from Gonzalez about the fund.

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