Thousands wait in long lines in the Englewood neighborhood for federal food assistance related to April storms. Mary Ann Ahern reports.
Thousands waited for hours Friday morning in search of flood relief after Illinois storms left their homes and property damaged.
As of 6 a.m. the line of people waiting at the Department of Human Services Building in Calumet Park stretched around the block back to the front doors, and it kept growing well before the doors opened at 8:30 a.m.
For the past four days flood victims seeking money from the state found long lines, but this one beat them all. Police were called to manage the situation, though the line remained calm.
"It would help a great deal," resident Frankie Baylor said, "and I'm actually impressed because I didn't think they were doing it again, for a second time."
"I lost my TV down in my basement, I lost my rugs, my clothes, my kids' clothes," Furtrina Singleton said.
Department of Human Services employees said they already signed up thousands for assistance.
"I bet we have serviced here maybe about, in the last four days, close to maybe 2,000 customers," said Felicia Ghoston with the Illinois Department of Human Services, which coordinated the food phase of the flood help.
As of Thursday, about 17,000 people in Cook County applied for $2.3 million of assistance, officials said.
To be eligible for benefits, individuals must live in specific impacted ZIP codes, have had damage to their home or business, paid disaster-related expenses that were not reimbursed, and have had a loss or reduction of income as a result of floods between April 16, 2013 and May 15, 2013.
Those who qualify will receive the help within five days.