National News

Alderwoman raises money for St. Louis residents facing rodent problem

Posted February 12, 2018 8:40 a.m. EST

— A St. Louis Alderwoman is working to raise money on her own time with the help of the community to help a group of residents facing rodent problems in their homes.

Longtime resident Pamela Emrick says she's been dealing with mice inside her unit at the Clinton Peabody Housing Complex for the past four years.

"Just to think and to hear them crawling," she said, 'or you sitting on the toilet and one shooting under the door in the bathroom, it's creepy."

Turns out she isn't the only one with the rodent problem. Other residents have complained of a similar situation.

"I have neighbors saying they climb in the kids beds they get into people food," said Emrick.

The problem has been brought to the attention of Ward 6 Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, who says the St. Louis Housing Authority has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring fumigators and providing temporary fixes.

"But as far as the short-term funding needs," she said. "The Housing Authority is not necessarily able to once the infestation is remediated to sort of recover from that."

She says she can't use money from her own ward funding because the complex is federally owned.

"Community development money, block grant money are streams of funding that local governments have been typically able to rely on for a myriad of issues, not just public housing funding," said Ingrassia, "and that's just continued to not be a focus on a federal level even under the former administrations and definitely now under this federal administration I can't imagine there will be a much rosier picture."

She began a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to help residents sanitize their units and replace any furniture or other items damaged by mice and other issues around the complex.

'We've had women who have had their babies bitten, people with exacerbated asthma," she said. "So I'm willing to do whatever it takes to get where we need to go."

Ascend STL Inc., a local foundation, offered to match up to $10,000 raised through donations.

"It makes me feel a little bit good inside knowing that there's someone out that's trying to help the residents that had to throw away their furniture or bed or clothing because of their situation," said Emrick.

Ingrassia says the money raised will be distributed by a group of residents in the community who will work alongside the St. Louis Housing Authority and Health Dept. to ensure the spending meets the proper guidelines.

"We all have to be successful and happy and healthy in order for the city to be successful," said the Alderwoman, "and I have a feeling people will understand that."