Southwest Missouri charities offer help with state rent and utility assistance application

Updated: Jun. 17, 2021 at 3:24 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - COVID-19 impacted many of us, and some are trying to get back on their feet after the pandemic caused financial strain for their families.

For Missouri residents, $324 million is available in rent and utility assistance through the Missouri Housing Development Commission, but it can be a bit of a struggle to apply.

First, you must verify your eligibility and fill out a pre-application checklist. That checklist is 18 pages long, and you haven’t even started the application process. Once you’ve done that, then it’s time to fill out the 11-page online application.

For those who don’t have a computer or internet access, it could be difficult to apply for assistance if you are in need of help. There are some organizations that can help you through the process.

”We are going to be assisting clients within the 39 counties that we serve,” said the Housing Programs Director for Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri Cindy Vanbuskirk. “We are trying to meet with our diocese and churches and other community partners that we can partner with to meet with clients in other counties. For the clients who can’t drive here, maybe they don’t have transportation or it’s a very long drive and they don’t have gas money so we’re going to meet with them in their community.“

When you apply, you will need proof of income, a photo ID, social security number, and a current lease. Unlike other assistance programs, the application is all online.

”The thing is all those documents have to be uploaded through the portal which is where people have had difficulty and we’re going to help them through that process,” said Vanbuskirk.

The program will cover up to 12 months of back rent and utility payments. Some may even qualify to receive an additional three months of assistance.

To be eligible for State Assistance for Housing Relief (SAFHR) you must be a Missouri resident, your household’s estimated income must be at or below 80% of the area median income, and experienced financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organizations assisting with the application process are OACAC and Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri.

For more information CLICK HERE.

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