COLUMBIA, MO (KMIZ)
The Missouri State Assistance for Housing Relief is now accepting applications for rental and utility assistance for those who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.
The Missouri Emergency Rental Arrears Program (ERAP) provides financial support to both landlords and renters who have been effected by the pandemic. Residents and landlords can apply online by Monday April 5.
"The program will reimburse landlords for past due rent payments (rental arrears) for the period beginning April 1, 2020. Applications must be completed and submitted by landlords in collaboration with their tenants. A one-time payment of up to six (6) months of rental arrears will be made to the landlord on the tenant’s behalf,"as stated on the department's website.
Anyone facing hard times due to COVID-19 and makes at least 80% or less than the Area Median Income (AMI) established by HUD, can apply online for rental or utility assistance.
"One or more members of your household must be receiving unemployment benefits, and/or experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. You need not have been sick with COVID-19 - but you must have experienced a reduction in household income (as a result of a reduction in work hours, job loss, etc.), incurred significant costs, or other hardship," as stated on it's website.
Lori Benson with the Salvation Army says they've recently seen a huge increase in requests for rental and utility assistance, as it is the number one need within the area.
“In fact, that’s kind of most of our phone calls, most of the people who are coming in to see us are needing rental and utility assistance. We have seen a huge increase," Benson said.
Benson says the requests are not only related to the pandemic, as some have lost their jobs recently or experienced a sudden death in the family. The Salvation Army is currently assisting those who have fallen on hard times at both it's Jefferson City and Columbia location.
"We do have nonrestricted funding in Columbia right now, so we are trying to help individuals. Even if their situation is COVID related we’re still able to help them with this non-restricted funding that we have. In Jefferson City, it is COVID restricted funding, so when someone comes in who needs rental or utility assistance they do have to show that it was COVID related,” Benson said.
“If someone is finding that they need rental or utility assistance they can go to our site at salvationarmycomo.org or salvationarmyjeffcity.org and the applications are listed on our site, or they can come to one of our locations in either Columbia or Jeff City and pick up a rental or utility application if they find that they need assistance," Benson said.