SPRINGFIELD, Mo.- As the pandemic continues, so does the need for help across the Ozarks.
“We have continued to see the need and we are booking our several weeks and I think all of the partners in Greene County are as well,” explained Holly Wilson, Director of Consumer Credit Counseling Service.
The federal moratorium eviction, which banned landlords from kicking out tenants not able to pay rent due to Covid-related issues, was set to expire July 31. However, earlier this month, it was extended to October 3rd.
John Farmer de la Torre, Director of Communications for Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, explained, “We have seen with the expiration of the moratorium a bit of an escalation with more people coming forward looking for assistance. people who are worried about being caught in a position of not being able to stay in their housing.”
“The programs are going strong, but what I would recommend is don’t let the moratorium on evictions lure you into a false sense of security,” Wilson stated.
Agencies that offer help are urging people to ask for help now- and not waiting until October.
Farmer de la Torre explained, “The money is there to get people back on their feet and keep them in their houses. “
Money- and a lot of it- is available for those needing help with rent and utilities during these hard times. Federal covid relief funding has been doled out to counties. Greene County has already given out $3.5 million in assistance through its emergency rental assistance program.
“It is really a once in a lifetime opportunity for people to pay this back rent, stay in their houses and really get back on their feet,” Farmer de la Torre said.
Outside the county, the State Assistance For Housing Relief (SAHFR) program has already assisted people with 64-million dollars statewide.
Farmer de la Torre explained, “It is really a boon, a windfall- and something that will really help people significantly.”
“Assistance is still available, and we want to make sure we get those to people that are in need,” Wilson said.
In the meantime, tenants are being reminded that the eviction moratorium is not automatic or across the board for everyone. Those seeking the coverage must register and make an Eviction Protection Declaration at CDC.gov.
More information about SAFHR can be found at www.mohousingresources.com/safhr-renters-apply
Or contact Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri at 417-268-9998, Consumer Credit Counseling Service at 417-889-7474, and OACAC at 417-447-0554.
Agencies assisting with the distribution of additional rental and utility assistance programs include Consumer Credit Counseling Service, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, Community Partnership of the Ozarks, OACAC, Council of Churches, and The Salvation Army.