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story.lead_photo.caption FILE: Cars enter and exit Fulton Housing Authority property on Sycamore Street. A state program, called State Assistance for Housing Relief, is now available to help tenants and landlords who have found it difficult to pay and collect rent during the pandemic. Photo by Helen Wilbers / Fulton Sun.

A state program is now available to assist tenants and landlords who have found it difficult to pay and collect rent during the coronavirus pandemic.

State Assistance For Housing Relief for renters and landlords are assistance programs administered by the Missouri Housing Development Commission and are funded by the federal government's COVID stimulus package.

Gov. Mike Parson signed a law in February allocating $324 million in funding for rental assistance. The funds are now available through the SAFHR programs.

The SAFHR program for renters includes the following:

Provides rent and utility assistance for eligible Missouri residents impacted by COVID-19;

Covers up to a total of 12 months of rent and utility bills — going back to April 2020 — and for up to three months in the future;

Utilities include gas, electric, water, sewage/wastewater, fuel (propane, wood, etc.) and trash;

Money is paid directly to the landlord or utility company.

To be eligible for the program, renters must reside in the state of Missouri and live at their current or previous address. They must also have at least one member of their household financially impacted — directly or indirectly — by COVID-19, and their income cannot exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

Interested renters can apply at mohousingresources.com/safhr. If a renter can't apply online or needs assistance with the application, call 833-541-1599 or send an email to [email protected]

The SAFHR program for landlords includes the following:

Provides rent assistance for eligible Missouri renters impacted by COVID-19;

Covers up to a total of 12 months of rent payments going back to April 2020 and for up to three months in the future;

Money is paid directly to the landlord or the utility company.

For landlords to be eligible for the program, their tenants must reside in the state of Missouri and live at their current or previous address. Their tenants must also have at least one member of their household financially impacted — directly or indirectly — by COVID-19, and their tenants' income cannot exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

Interested landlords can apply on behalf of their eligible tenants at mohousing
resources.com/landlords. If a landlord can't apply online or they or their tenant needs assistance in filling out the application, also call 833-541-1599 or send an email to [email protected]

If corrections to an application are necessary, individuals will be notified to update the information and resubmit. There will also be an opportunity to make corrections without having to reapply.

Once any corrections are completed, payment usually occurs within 2-4 weeks. Applicants will be emailed about the status of their application while being processed.

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