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$500 in assistance now available for St. Louis residents impacted by COVID-19

People should expect the $500 payment within 10-15 days, if they're approved

ST. LOUIS — It was a long time in the making, but St. Louis officials are now distributing $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to residents whose jobs were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while the online portal is now up and running, Saturday was the day people could get help with the application process in person.

At St. Louis Community College–Forest Park, city officials had 100 volunteers, 70 tables and people standing in line waiting for their appointments.

St. Louis resident Angelica Chism said the $500 would help her avoid homelessness.

"I'll tell you that much, right now. Really, that's what it comes down to. Anything helps," she said.

Volunteers with the United Way of Greater St. Louis helped people apply for $500 COVID-19 assistance payments from the $135 million in ARPA funding the city received to improve public health and public safety infrastructure while providing economic relief to residents.

It can fairly be pointed out that people probably could have used $500 six or eight months ago.

"That approval process at the board did take some time, but we wanted to make sure what the board and what the mayor wanted is exactly what's executed," said St. Louis treasurer Adam Layne.

St. Louis resident Fredica Mitchell was asked how $500 would help her.

"Well, you know, I'm in school, so I plan on purchasing another laptop," said Mitchell, who lost her job as a substitute teacher due to COVID-19.

"I don't know why it took so long, but I'm glad that it did come through at the right time," she added. "Better late than never."

Regina Greer, the chief impact officer at United Way of Greater St. Louis, said people should expect the $500 payment within 10-15 days, if they're approved.

Chism is hoping it's the start of a better New Year.

The application portal is available on the city's website for residents to apply.

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