Assistance available to Missourians facing eviction
UPDATE: On June 24, the CDC issued an extension of the eviction moratorium, extending it from June 30 to July 31. This is intended to be the last extension, according to the CDC. The U.S. Supreme Court also denied a request on June 29 to end the federal eviction moratorium, allowing the moratorium to remain in effect.
Thousands of renters in Missouri may be at risk of eviction later this month if the federal eviction moratorium expires as planned on June 30. If the moratorium ends, there are still rental and utility assistance programs Missouri residents can utilize.
Due to high unemployment rates and financial hardships many households faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control issued the federal eviction moratorium in September 2020. The 10-month moratorium prevented landlords from evicting tenants who filed the CDC’s eviction moratorium declaration form, which stated the renters were unable to meet their financial obligations listed in their lease agreements, such as paying rent. When the eviction moratorium ends at the end of the month, landlords will be able to proceed with evicting tenants for not meeting financial obligations.
Even though the eviction moratorium is set to expire June 30, Missouri tenants have several resources and programs to contact for rental and utility assistance.
State Assistance for Housing Relief (SAFHR) Program
The Missouri Housing Development Commission offers the State Assistance for Housing Relief Program for renters and landlords. The SAFHR for Renters Program provides rent and utility assistance for eligible Missouri residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The SAFHR for Landlords Program allows landlords to apply for rent assistance on behalf of eligible tenants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both programs cover financial assistance for rent and utility payments since April 2020 and up to three months of prepaid rent and utility assistance.
The main requirements for the SAFHR program are an individual (1) must be a Missouri resident renting his or her primary residence, (2) has a household estimated income at or below 80% of the area median income (AMI), and (3) has experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to view the full SAFHR eligibility requirements for Missouri tenants. Click here to calculate your AMI.
The SAFHR programs use funding from the Emergency Rental Assistance Program Congress passed late last year. In February, Gov. Mike Parson signed a bill that allocated about $323 million toward rental and utility assistance.
The MHDC provides regular updates on SAFHR through bi-weekly emails. Individuals can subscribe to these emails by clicking here and filling out the form.
St. Louis Mediation Project
For more than a decade, the St. Louis Mediation Project has been helping tenants, homeowners, landlords, and lenders resolve housing disputes for free. The project provides a trained mediator to listen to the parties and work toward a solution all sides are happy with.
Mediations are currently conducted via Zoom. Those interested in learning more about the St. Louis Mediation Project can email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 314-833-0226, or visit stlmediationproject.org/
The program was created by the Washington University School of Law Civil Rights & Mediation Clinic, the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing & Opportunity Council, and U.S. Arbitration & Mediation.
St. Louis County Emergency Rental Assistance Program
Low- and moderate-income households in St. Louis County that can’t pay rent and/or utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for the county’s emergency rental assistance program. The program covers financial assistance for rent and utility payments since March 13, 2020, as well as up to three months of prepaid rent and utility assistance if necessary to ensure housing stability.
A resident must reside in St. Louis County, pay rent, have experienced a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrate he or she is at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and have a household income at or below 80% of the area median income.
For more information about the St. Louis County ERAP, click here.
KCMO Emergency Rent & Utility Assistance Program
In Kansas City, renters can apply for emergency rent relief through the KCMO Emergency Rent & Utility Assistance Program. The program covers current and past due rent and utility bills, as well as for trash removal. It cannot be used for phone, cable, or internet. The program covers financial assistance for rent and utility payments since April 1, 2020, as well as up to three months of prepaid rent and utility assistance.
A tenant is eligible for assistance if he or she has experienced financial hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is at risk of experiencing homelessness, and has a household income at or below 80% of the area median income.
Click here for more information about the KCMO Emergency Rent & Utility Assistance Program.
Most Missouri counties offer some form of rental and utility assistance to those who are at risk of being evicted. Click here to use the Missouri Housing Development Commission’s interactive map to look up county-by-county resources and programs. Tenants can also visit the U.S. Department of Treasury’s website to find emergency rental assistance programs in their areas. Renters can also call the United Way at 2-1-1 to get a list of community resources.