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More rental, utility aid available to St. Louisans, mayor announces

City residents affected by COVID-19 can apply starting Thursday for financial assistance paid directly to a landlord or utility

ST. LOUIS — City of St. Louis residents who need help staying in their homes and keeping their utilities on because of the COVID-19 pandemic can apply for rental and utility assistance through the state of Missouri starting Thursday, Mayor Lyda Krewson announced Wednesday.

Eligible tenants will be able to go online and request financial assistance that will be paid directly to their landlord and/or utility provider. Assistance includes rental and utility bills for the period beginning April 2020 and up to three months of future rent and utility expenses. Total assistance any tenant receives through the State Assistance for Housing Relief (SAFHR) program cannot exceed a period of 12 months.

TO APPLY: State assistance for housing relief - rental assistance program

“The past year has been an extraordinarily challenging time for many St. Louisans who continue to struggle to make ends meet through no fault of their own,” Krewson said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to offer this vital resource from the state to our residents. It will keep a roof over their heads, keep their utilities on, and help limit the devastation caused by facing an eviction, housing insecurity and/or homelessness.

“The last thing we should be doing is putting people out on the street during a pandemic.”

Information about eligibility and the application process is available online here. Funding will be administered by the Missouri Housing Development Commission through the SAFHR program.

In addition to living in a rental property in St. Louis, applicants must have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income, a demonstrated risk of housing instability or homelessness without assistance, one or more individuals in the household receiving unemployment benefits and/or experiencing a reduction in household income because of COVID-19 and a requested amount of assistance that represents the tenant’s portion of rent or utilities that has not been and will not be paid by any other source.

Ameren Missouri is encouraging its customers in need of assistance to apply for the new program.

"We've been working closely with the Missouri Housing Development Commission to make sure Ameren Missouri customers have easy access to these funds," said Tara Oglesby, vice president of customer experience for Ameren Missouri. "Help is on the way as the SAFHR program will provide critical relief for families who continue to feel the financial impact of the pandemic."

Ameren reported there will be $324 million available in rental and utility assistance for Missourians through the SAFHR program.

Last year, the city committed more than $7 million in federal CARES Act funding to establish a new rental and mortgage assistance program. Of the more than 9,000 applications received, the city and its partner agencies have processed more than 7,000, with the effort ongoing.

The city is also utilizing the $9 million it received from the U.S. Treasury in December 2020 to keep providing financial assistance to applicants. The city is working with the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court to monitor and prioritize residents with an active case on the eviction docket.

If you have already applied to the city’s rental assistance program, applications are being reviewed in the order they were received. Representatives will contact you using the email, phone number or other contact information you provided on your application.

If you are unable to apply online, please call (833) 541-1599 or email mo.safhr@mhdc.com.