Missouri’s housing and utility assistance program to end
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Those looking for help with rent or city utilities now have a deadline to apply. The State Assistance for Housing Relief or “SAFHR” announced the decision to close applications by Jan. 31. The remaining funds will be given out to those in need until it runs out.
The program was created to help those who saw a decrease in income or an increase in cost during the pandemic. The program started to help cover rent and utility costs for eligible tenants and landlords in 2020.
SAFHR said that over $600 million in federal stimulus funds has assisted more than 100,000 applicants. And with about 3,500-4,000 applications per week, the program announced the grant money is nearing its end.
The program said it planned to stop receiving new applications by the end of January. That in turn created more applicants, hoping to apply before the program closes.
Because of the recent increase, the program announced all new applications will be waitlisted. Over social media, some hoping to apply said they’re getting the same automated response.
“The SAFHR program has received more requests than there are funds available. Effective immediately, all newly submitted applications will be placed on a waitlist and program staff will contact applicants directly if additional information is needed," reads an automated email from the SAFHR team.
The email also said previously submitted applications will not be affected, and those who’ve applied but are unsure of their waitlist status can check in the application portal.
However, the team added all communication through firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com will be limited. While the call center is available during hours, the chat feature on the applications has been disabled.
There are other options out there for those in need too. Calling the number 211 can connect tenants with a local non-profit for assistance. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) could help to pay home energy bills through a one-time payment. The Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) is available for those going through an unexpected financial loss.
The Department of Mental Health one-time Rental Assistance Program (RAP) is for DMH clients in need of one-time assistance for housing stability. The Housing Stability and Eviction Diversion (HSED) program can offer evicted households with legal assistance and case management.