SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Those in Greene County struggling to keep up with rent over the past year are now getting some help.
The county is distributing $8.7 million to renters for the next few months by partnering with six different agencies to help disperse the funding. The program runs through the end of September, or until the money runs out.
Springfield resident Miley Hill has applied for that assistance. She was laid off from her two jobs within days of each other last year.
“I was actually moving into a house at that time. I was moving into my house, and then I lost my job so I was a wreck,” says Hill.
Like hundreds of others, she reached out to Consumer Credit Counseling Services, one of the six agencies Greene County is partnering with for the Emergency Rental Assistance program. Director Holly Wilson has spoken with many clients in the same position as Hill.
“A lot of our clients have never had to ask for assistance before. They didn’t know what the process was, how long it would take,” Wilson says.
Thankfully for Hill, it didn’t take long.
“I called up here, had an interview within two days, and assistance same day. I’m getting two months’ rent, and I’m getting help with my utility bill as well,” Hill says.
Wilson explains that the amount applicants get varies on their income, and how long they have gone without paying rent.
“The money goes directly to the landlord or the utility company. The appointments we had today, those checks will be going out next week so it’s pretty quick,” says Wilson.
Another person who has applied at CCCS is Sheila Tummons. She was laid off last year as well. She says unemployment hasn’t been enough, and it’s been hard to find another job in this climate.
“I was a delivery driver for Fed-Ex, I’ve had really good jobs. To go out and get a job like that, it’s not happening right now,” says Tummons.
Tummons says she is close to finding out how much relief she qualifies for, and wants people to understand that it could happen to anyone.
“Some of us are actually trying, we’re not here just looking for a free helping hand,” Tummons says.
Wilson says it is important to communicate with your landlord about your efforts to try and pay rent, and to pay what you can – when you can.
If you are looking to receive rent relief, go to Greene County’s website and click the rental assistance tab, or click here. There you can find information on where to apply, and what sorts of documents and information you’ll need to bring to an appointment.
The six agencies partnering with the county to help disperse this funding are:
- Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation (OACAC)
- Consumer Credit Counseling Services
- Community Partnership of the Ozarks
- Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri
- Council of Churches of the Ozarks
- The Salvation Army
In the first two weeks since the program launched, the six agencies a combined 1,500+ calls from people seeking assistance.
- 558 (direct calls and agency call-backs) were screened for eligibility.
- 335 appointments were booked according to each partner agency procedure.
- Of 43 completed appointments, 20 have finalized information from landlords and utility companies.
- Five of the 20 completed applications have award amounts determined and the remaining 15 are being evaluated.