ST. LOUIS - Mayor Tishaura O. Jones visited housing assistance provider Horizon Housing to discuss upcoming efforts to help connect families to rental and utility assistance following the lifting of the eviction moratorium. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) allowed the moratorium to be lifted, Mayor Jones urged federal authorities to act to reinstate it.

“Keeping families in their homes and off the streets plays a key part in helping stop the spread of COVID-19,“ said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “If the federal government won’t act, the City will, allocating funds to expedite applications and partnering with providers to set up in-person clinics to help connect residents with the resources they need.”

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Mayor Jones greeted Horizon Housing staff, one of the providers set to begin giving direct assistance to tenants this week. Last week, Mayor Jones took executive action to allocate $1.5 million in local funds to help connect families to existing housing assistance resources, expedite the application process and increase legal and mediation services.

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The City of St. Louis is working to begin in-person rental assistance clinics, assisting providers in recruiting volunteers for these events. Interested individuals can apply to enter a pool of volunteers through the City’s website. The City will partner with the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council for in-person assistance clinics on August 20, 10am - 6pm and August 21, 10am - 2pm, at St. Louis Community College Forest Park.

Previously, federal rules required rental and utility assistance to go directly to landlords or utility companies, but updated US Treasury guidelines note the unwillingness of some landlords to participate in the program, and now allow funds to go directly to tenants. Residents in need of rental and utility assistance should dial 2-1-1, call 800-427-4626 or email Full eligibility criteria and application options can be found on the City’s website.

Applicants who pull together required documents at the time of application receive assistance more quickly. Individuals applying for rental assistance should have ready a photo ID for the head of household, lease or documentation from their landlord, proof of St. Louis City residency and proof of financial hardship due to COVID-19. Tenants may self-attest in regards to income loss if documentation is not available.

Meanwhile, Board President Lewis Reed’s refusal to bring his bill in line with US Treasury regulations per the City Counselor and compliance auditor continues to hold up millions of dollars in direct relief including resources that would help expedite assistance applications. The administration continues to explore possible avenues to get around this obstinacy and get direct relief to the people of St. Louis.

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