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story.lead_photo.caption Maintenance workers carry tarps, lumber and other items necessary for securing tarps to the roof of an apartment building at 126 Marshall St. On Monday morning, July 22, 2019, several residents evacuated the previously tornado-damaged apartment complex after some ceilings collapsed following an overnight rain. Maintenance workers were called in to clean up the damaged areas and to cover the roof to prevent further damage to the facility. Photo by Julie Smith / News Tribune.

More than 200 Missouri families affected by flooding this spring and tornadoes on May 22 have received disaster-relief assistance from the Realtors Relief Foundation.

In the Jefferson City area, 85 families were helped, with funds totaling $64,561, according to the Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors (JCABOR).

"It really was a neat experience, feeling that we could actually help people in our community," JCABOR President Stephanie Biggs said. "What we were interested in was that everyone in our community had a roof over their head."

The funds were available to both home owners and tenants, and were intended to be used for deposits or rent payments on new homes.

Biggs said they also received donations from three boards in the state — the Tri-Lakes Board of Realtors out of Branson, the Ozark Gateway Board of Realtors in Joplin and the Ozarks Board of Realtors in Bolivar.

They haven't decided what those funds will be used for yet, but Biggs said it will go to people affected by the storm and floods in some way.

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Statewide, Missouri Realtors announced they were able to provide $182,067 to 225 Missouri families from the relief fund in just under 60 days, including those in Jefferson City.

"Our hearts go out to those affected by storms and flooding that have impacted communities across Missouri since May," John Sebree, Missouri Realtors chief executive officer, said in a news release. "I am so proud that our organization could jump in immediately to help with monthly rent and mortgage payments for those most impacted. There is no place like home, and we want to help families get back in their residence as soon as we can."

Missouri residents were able to request funds up to $1,000 per household; the program ended July 31. Funds could be used to help with monthly mortgage or rental expenses for primary residences that were damaged.

According to a release from Missouri Realtors, most of the funds went to victims of flooding in St. Charles County and tornado victims in Eldon and Jefferson City.

In Jefferson City, fund requests were approved by a weekly committee, Biggs said. Applicants had to provide copies of leases and proof of damages. Biggs said most of the applications were approved.

The relief fund was originally set up by the National Association of Realtors Relief Foundation in the hours after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York. Since then, the fund has provided more than $25 million for victims of natural disasters.

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