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Washington Residents Meeting Basic Needs, Making Progress

It's been nine days since tornadoes tore through central Illinois. City officials in Washington said progress is being made.
WASHINGTON – Nine days after 24 tornadoes reportedly blew through the state, our central Illinois communities are making some progress. In Washington, residents are finding ways to meet their basic needs. They’re even making plans for rebuilding.

More than 1,400 tons of debris has been hauled away from Washington’s damaged properties. City Spokesperson Brian Williamsen said the successful clean-up efforts are a sign of progress.

Now, the city is letting its residents take the reins. He explained, "It's a transition process. Again, the crews will be out continuing to be out to assist with that but the property owners will have some responsibility of clean up."

Beginning Wednesday at noon, residents in Washington will again have full access to the affected areas, however, in the meantime, they're turning to a multi-agency resource center.

Harley Jones, the manager, said, “By having the right people around the table, all the people who have resources for the families that have been affected and let's put it in one spot."

The Multi-Agency Resource Center, also known as MARC, has dozens of groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and even Ameren, all in one building.

Jones said the easy access helps victims get their questions quickly answered. “Some people are focusing their time on connecting the dots on those really basic things. Then, they start thinking about longer term, where are we going to stay, where are we going to live, how am I going to interact with my insurance adjuster?"

The collaborative effort is the first of its kind in Illinois. MARC was started in hard hit Joplin, Missouri.

Now, it’s helping Illinois victims find a new normal. “Help them think about those next steps. It's as simple as how do I replace my ID to how do I start thinking about trying to find a place to live when I may have lived in the same house for 20  to 30 years."

Officials want to meet the needs of every homeowner who’s a victim of the storms. If you need help, call this hotline: (309) 698-5001.

If you want to volunteer, the Tazewell County Volunteer Reception Center is coordinating those efforts and is operated by AmeriCorps at ICC. Volunteers can call (309) 698-5002 or to register as a group you can call (309) 698-5003.
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