rent assist
rent assist

With the national eviction moratorium set to expire on July 31, hundreds of thousands of Americans are at risk of eviction, but assistance is still available.  

Participation in the program is picking up.  Nationwide in the month of June, state and local officials disbursed $1.5 billion in rental assistance to help households falling behind on rent and utilities.  That was, more than during the entire previous five months.  

“This represents significant progress, but there is still much further work to go to ensure tenants and landlords take advantage of the historic funding available to help cover rent, utilities, and other housing costs and keep people in their homes,” said a press release from the US Department of the Treasury.

Both Missouri and Kansas still have millions in rental and utility assistance available for those who may be at risk of eviction. Officials are encouraging families to apply, even if they think they will not be eligible.

Find out how much money has been spent so far and how to get assistance:

Missouri Rental and Utility Assistance

Between 150,000 to 230,000 households in the state of Missouri are at risk of eviction once the national eviction moratorium is up. Still, since Feb. 15, the state has only put $17.4 million of the total allotted $325 million available through its State Assistance for Housing Relief Program (SAFHR), in the hands of just 3,500 families since.   SAFHR provides money for rent and utilities for up to 12 months going back to April 2020. Those eligible must be Missouri residents, renters, have an income at or below 80% of the Area Median Income, and have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.

Applicants are encouraged to apply with one of the state’s partner organizations to assist with preparing and submitting the application. reStart, Inc and Reconciliation Services in Kansas City are available to help process paperwork and help with applications.  

The application process typically takes three to four weeks; then, the state sends the money directly to the rental property owner or the utility company. Applications are expected to remain open until Sept. 2022.

Apply to SAFHR here:https://www.mohousingresources.com/safhr.

For help applying to SAFHR, contact reStart, Inc – 816-472-5664 or Reconciliation Services – 816-931-4751. 

Kansas City Assistance

In March, Kansas City announced its rental and utility assistance program would contribute almost $15 million to local families. But, due to an overload of applicants, the program discontinued accepting applications earlier this month. While it was open, the program received more than 7000 applications. 

The Jackson County Emergency Rental Assistance Program is still taking applications for past due rent, utilities, and future rent. The program opened in April with $11.5 million and has given out about $4 million. 

To be eligible for the Jackson County assistance program, the renter must have a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability, have an income at or below 80% of the area median, and qualify for unemployment, experienced a reduction in income or experienced a financial hardship due to the pandemic. 

Applications are prioritized if the renter has a household income at or below 50% of the area median and for renters who have been unemployed for at least 90 days before applying for rental assistance. 

To apply, visit https://www.jacksoncountyerap.org/

Other KCMO Assistance (Deposits, Utilities, Legal Services)

City of Kansas City Missouri Tenant Rights/Evictions/Fair Housing Section (information regarding rent/utility assistance and legal services for evictions) – (816) 513-3026 

Heartland Center for Jobs & Freedom (legal services for evictions) – (816) 278-1092

Legal Aid of Western Missouri (legal services for evictions) – (816) 474-6750

Mattie Rhodes Center (homeless prevention) – (816) 471-2536

Mid America Assistance Coalition (utility assistance only) – (816) 474-5112

reStart Inc. (homeless prevention, rapid rehousing) – (816) 472-5664 

Kansas Rental and Utility Assistance

Kansans who may be facing eviction due to financial hardship incurred due to the COVID pandemic are encouraged to apply for Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) assistance. The funds, made available through the KERA program, were allocated to the state through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021. 

Wichita residents are now eligible to apply for the KERA program, though duplication of benefits is prohibited. 

To be eligible to receive KERA assistance, tenants must rent their homes and must have experienced a documented financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of hardship may include qualifying for unemployment benefits, experiencing a reduction of household income, or incurring high costs due to the pandemic. Additionally, the tenant’s household’s income may not exceed 80% of the area’s median income. 

KERA applicants must provide the following documentation: 

  • Past-due utility bill or overdue rent or eviction notice from April 2020 to the present 

  • Signed lease identifying the residential unit and the rental payment amount 

  • 2020 Federal Income Tax Return as filed with the IRS (if a tenant hasn’t filed 2020 federal income taxes, their W-2 wage statement and all IRS 1099 forms are acceptable) 

  • Proof of identification, including a current state-issued photo ID, court filing notice, or mail from a federal, state, county, or city agency displaying the rental unit address 

Approved KERA applicants are also eligible to receive a maximum of 12 months of rental and utility assistance, in addition to reasonable fees and security deposits. Qualified applicants are also eligible to receive a lump sum of $600 in credit to their internet providers to cover past-due or future internet costs, at a rate of $50 per month for 12 months. Tenants may apply for three months of prospective assistance at a time. Program guidelines require tenants and landlords to apply jointly, with payments made directly to the landlord or service provider.

Wichita residents can still apply for aid through the city’s Housing and Community Services division’s Wichita Emergency Rental Assistance Program (WERAP)

​To be eligible for the WERAP program:

  • The household must have an income below 80% area median income (AMI). Households with an income of less than 50% AMI or households employed in 2020 who  have been unemployed for the 90 days before the application will be served first.

  • The family must have past due rent and utilities and must have received an eviction notice or demand for payment.

  • The family must have a COVID-19 related economic impact such as job loss, reduced hours, reduced tips, or increased childcare or medical expenses.

Depending on funding availability, the program can provide funding for:

  • Past due rent & utilities

  • Future rent & utilities in three-month increments with recertification of eligibility every 90 days

  • A total of 12 months of assistance (past due & future payments combined)

Households should gather the following required documentation:

  • Copy of the lease

  • Copy of the eviction notice or demands for payment

  • Documentation of income (check stubs, unemployment statement, child support printout, W2s, and 1099s from 2020, etc.)

  • Contact information for the landlord

  • Documentation of the COVID-19 related economic impact (unemployment statement, termination letter, letter from employer regarding reduced hours, sufficient check stubs to document reduced hours, remote school documentation coupled with childcare statement, medical bills for COVID-19 related illness, etc)

Apply online at https://lfforms.wichita.gov/Forms/WERAP or call (316) 462-3700.

Other Kansas Utility Bill Assistance

Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP) is a federal program administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families, which helps eligible Kansans pay a portion of their home’s utility costs by providing a one-time per year benefit that may vary. See their website (http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/Pages/EnergyAssistance.aspx) for additional information or call 1-800-432-0043.

United Way: 2-1-1 helps Kansans locate utility assistance programs. Call “211” toll-free or visit.

https://211kansas.myresourcedirectory.com/index.php to see what assistance programs are available in your area.

The Salvation Army: Administers utility assistance programs throughout the state, including the following programs in Kansas:

  • Sharing the Warmth: Operated by the Salvation Army Kansas & Western Missouri in 33 counties served by Atmos Energy to Atmos customers with a gross family income at or below 200% of the poverty level guideline. Call the toll-free hotline: 1-816-756-5392 ext 4.

  • HeatShare: Operated by the Salvation Army Kansas & Western Missouri in Kansas counties served by Black Hills Energy, as well as Butler Rural Electric and the City of Altamont, which provides financial assistance, counseling, and referrals to other utility funding sources. Dial 211 to be directed to services in your area.

  • Project DESERVE: A program administered by The Center of Hope in partnership with Evergy Energy that provides emergency financial assistance to pay Evergy Energy bills to those over age 65 or those who are receiving disability income or who meet the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) guidelines of 30% of the Federal Adjusted Income Limits.

    • Up to $300 (one-time payment annually) for households with children or adults with severe disability (meeting Social Security disability criteria) and older (over 60) adults; and

    • Up to $100 (one-time payment annually) for income-eligible individuals. If you think you might be eligible for Project DESERVE assistance, please contact Center of Hope at 316-267-3999 or call Evergy Energy at (800) 383-1183.

Jazzlyn Johnson

Jazzlyn "Jazzie” is the former senior reporter for our team, who joined the company in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, through the Report for America service program. For the past two years, she covered...

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