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Red Cross shelter work could continue into July

Shelter operations across mid-Missouri by the American Red Cross could stretch into July, according to the local chapter director.

Abigail Anderson told ABC 17 News that the charity is ready to keep shelters open as long as there is a need. She expected shelters open due to flooding and tornado damage to continue through the Fourth of July holiday.

The Open Bible Praise Center on Highway 87 in Cooper County has been open for one week after numerous levee breaches forced evacuations in southern Howard County. The Boonville Bridge remained closed Friday night, while Howard County officials lifted mandatory evacuations for New Franklin residents.

Anderson said the receding floodwaters in some parts of mid-Missouri did not necessarily mean shelters would not be needed. She said 14 people utilized the church for shelter Thursday night, an increase from a day prior.

“With river levels rising and falling, houses being unlivable and then livable again, it’s just a very fluid disaster response, and the need literally changes day-to-day,” Anderson said.

Housing remained one of the biggest barriers for those staying in Red Cross shelters from leaving. Anderson said some agencies provide help with those costs, such as rent, but finding available space remained a challenge for some.

The Red Cross might soon set up another Multi-Agency Resource Center in Jefferson City, as that town continues to rebuild from both flooding and a tornado May 22. The Red Cross held a “MARC” from May 30 to Saturday in Jefferson City and Eldon with dozens of agencies offering a variety of services. Anderson said she was marshaling help to open another center next week.

Anderson said the charity has spent $200,000 so far in response to disasters in mid-Missouri. The regional chapter, which covers Missouri and Arkansas, anticipates spending $2.6 million from May 22 until November.

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