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Tenants in St. Louis can now apply for rental, utility aid from state

CITY HALL – Some tenants can begin today to apply for rental and utility assistance through the State Assistance for Housing Relief (SAFHR) program.

The financial assistance will be paid directly to the landlord and/or utility provider, not to the tenant. Financial assistance includes rental and utility arrears from April 2020 on and for up to three months of future rent and utility expenses. Tenants can get aid for a maximum of 12 months.

Mayor Lyda Krewson said in a statement: “We’re grateful for the opportunity to offer this vital resource from the state to our residents. It will keep a  roof over their heads, keep their utilities on, and help limit the devastation caused by facing an  eviction, housing insecurity, and/or homelessness. The last thing we should be doing is putting people out on the street during a pandemic.”

To learn more and apply online for the program, go to the SAFHR website.

To be eligible, a tenant must: currently live in a residential rental property in Missouri; have a household income at or below 80 percent of the area median income; have a demonstrated risk of housing instability or homelessness without assistance; have one or more people in the household getting unemployment benefits and/or experiencing a reduction in household income due to COVID-19; and be asking for an amount of assistance that represents the tenant’s portion of rent or utilities that  has not been and will not be paid by any other source.

The mayor’s office said that last year, the city allocated more than $7 million in federal CARES Act funding to set up a  new rental and mortgage assistance program. More than 9,000 people applied; the city and its partner agencies have processed more than 7,000 of them so far. The city is also using the $9 million it got directly from the U.S. Treasury in  December 2020 to help applicants. Also, the city is working with  the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court to prioritize residents with an active case on the eviction docket.

Staff is home to The NorthSider and The SouthSider weekly community newspapers. The SouthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Tuesday. The NorthSider publishes 25,000 copies every Thursday. They are distributed at over 600 locations across St. Louis.

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