Ellicott City flooding: How you can help, and how to get help

Ellicott City has been ravaged by floodwaters for the second time in less than two years. Relief efforts are underway for businesses and residents.

If you’re in need of help, Howard County Government has opened a hotline to provide information and assistance at 410-313-2900. For emergencies, call 911.


Emergency shelter is available at the Roger Carter Community Center, 3000 Milltown Drive in Ellicott City. The center is scheduled to open for regular programs Tuesday but will still help those in need after the flood. Anyone with programs planned at the center Tuesday should call 410-313-4452.

Howard County government announced Monday night that a disaster assistance center will open at noon Tuesday at the Department of Community Resources and Services Center, 9401 Frederick Road in Ellicott City. In addition, the Department of Social Services office will open at 7 a.m. Tuesday to help flood victims.


Those whose cars are missing should email HCPDCarRecovery@howardcountymd.gov with your name, cell phone number, contact information and the car make, model, color and plate number. Howard County police say they will respond. Police began towing cars from the flood zone on Monday.

The Howard County Bar Association is offering support for people who need help with questions about insurance coverage, loss of inventory, leases or property damages. Flood victims can call 410-313-3853 to speak to an attorney from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm.

If you’re interested in helping the recovery efforts, here are some ways to do so:

1. The nonprofit Ellicott City Partnership has set up HelpEllicottCity.com to accept donations for businesses, residents and property owners.


The partnership raised and distributed more than $1.85 million in relief funds after the flood of 2016, executive director Maureen Sweeny Smith said.

“The Red Cross and United Way can only give to humanitarian efforts,” she said. “They can give the money to residents, but not to the business and property owners, and those are the people we’re trying to help.”

Ellicott City was devastated by floodwaters Sunday, just two years after another storm ravaged the historic Howard County site.

Smith said the region was generous the last time Ellicott City found itself underwater.

“People just came and helped us out so much last time,” she said.

Seventeen businesses closed permanently, she said, but nearly two dozen new ones opened. “Ellicott City Strong” events that promoted shopping and dining at the small businesses in the district were well attended.

“Everything was going so well,” Smith said. “Hopefully they’re able to make that recovery again.”

The partnership does not accept food, clothing or furniture donations, she said.

2. The United Way of Central Maryland said Monday that it has re-established the ECStrong Fund it launched in 2016 to provide humanitarian relief to those affected by the flooding.

United Way said in a news release that 100 percent of donations received through the fund will go directly to providing relief. Residents can also call 211 to reach the 2-1-1 Maryland United Way Helpline if they need access to shelter, food and other necessities.

To assist victims of the flooding, text “ECStrong” to 71777 or go to uwcm.org/ECStrong.

3. The Howard County Food Bank, 9385 Gerwig Lane J, Columbia, will accept water, cleaning supplies, flashlights and other donations for Ellicott City Flood Relief every day this week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Items particularly needed include peanut butter, cereal, canned foods, and supplies such as rubber and work gloves, paper towels, rags, bleach and disposable coveralls.

Those who live or work in Ellicott City and need supplies can pick them up at the food bank between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. this week.

4. The Community Foundation of Howard County created a fund to help assist community members in the aftermath of the flooding.

“The CFHoCo Board uses several factors to decide when to activate the fund, including the severity of the incident, impact on the community, the needs of residents and businesses, and the availability of resources,” the foundation says on its website.

Donors are asked to use this link to make monetary donations.

5. The Facebook group “Keep Ellicott City Working,” which was created after the 2016 flood to connect the district’s service industry workers with jobs elsewhere, has been reactivated.

Main Street — and all its shops and restaurants — was closed for months last time. Know of a restaurant or shop hiring? Post it in the group with contact information for the hiring manager so that displaced workers can apply.

“Please share with anyone that is temporarily or currently unemployed by the flood that may not be here yet,” the group’s description says. “If you are an employer that wants to help, please write your location, position looking to fill, and contact info. Employees will reach out to you directly.”

6. People who want to volunteer can sign up with Howard County officials.

Prospective volunteers can enter their information at howardcountymd.gov/disasterrecoveryvolunteer. Officials will match volunteers with opportunities.

7. If you need to talk to someone to help process your experience, call the Grassroots Hotline at 410-531-6677.

Counselors are available around the clock at the hotline to help people in crisis.

8. Rebuilding Together Howard County, a local branch of a national nonprofit, has set up an Urgent Repair Fund to help residents with home repairs.

The national organization typically helps provide home repairs to veterans, people with disabilities, and low-income home owners. The Howard County affiliate also helped out after the 2016 flood, partnering with the One EC Recovery Project to help conduct home inspections and provide home repairs, according to the group’s website.

Know of more ways to help? Email newstips@baltimoresun.com.