Missouri home sales down, food stamp applications up

JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Even as Gov. Mike Parson prepares to announce plans for reopening some businesses and outdoor activities, new reports detail the the economic impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on state residents.

The governor, a Republican, will release guidelines Monday allowing the state to begin opening some businesses and events, including religious services, weddings and outdoor gatherings such as sports and graduation ceremonies, starting May 4.

That comes as a report released this month said applications for food stamps increased 64 percent from February to March in Missouri. The report from the Missouri Budget Project, a nonpartisan think tank, said 61,164 people applied for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, up from 37,201 in February, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The state’s housing market is also taking a hit, with home sales down almost 20 percent in March compared with March 2019, according to the Missouri Realtors Association. And new home listings dropped almost 12 percent, the association said in a report.

Missouri Realtors CEO John Sebree said the slump in home sales could continue for months after the state reopens because it will take time for public confidence in the economy to be restored.

As of Sunday, health officials reported 274 people in Missouri had died of COVID-19 and there had been 6,997 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The actual number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest that people can be infected without feeling sick.

The Missouri National Guard announced Monday that it began performing medical screenings at state government facilities and Missouri National Guard Headquarters last week. The move will allow members of the Missouri State Emergency Management Agency, who have been performing the testing, to return to their regular duties, according to a news release.

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