Missourians can now apply for mortgage assistance through federal COVID relief funds • Missouri Independent

Missourians who have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to pay their mortgage can now apply for assistance under the State Assistance for Housing Assistance (SAFHR) scheme.

Starting March 1, the federally funded SAFHR for Homeowners program will begin providing nearly $140 million in assistance to homeowners to pay off overdue mortgage balances and help prevent foreclosures.

The program was previously only open to tenants or those who are behind on utility payments.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission administers $324 million in federal rent and utility assistance through its State Assistance for Housing Assistance, or SAFHR, program.

To be eligible, applicants must have experienced a reduction in income or an increase in qualifying expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. They must also be behind on at least one mortgage payment and currently own and occupy the property as their primary residence.

For those who qualify, the program will pay the mortgage lender directly for outstanding balances and fees, which includes missed regular payments, deferred payments, and payments missed during a forbearance period.

The state will also continue its program to provide rent and utility arrears for the period beginning in April 2020 and up to three months of rent and utility assistance for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.

Missouri received $323.7 million under the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA1), the COVID relief program approved by Congress in December 2020.

Since SAHFR for tenants program launched a year ago, the State struggle to process applications quickly and get funds into the hands of families. This fall, the state was in danger of losing funds because it had granted only 18% of CRE1 funds as of September 30.

However since mid-January, the state has doubled the amount of rent assistance it pays out each week to an average of more than $7 million, according to the Missouri Housing Development Commission’s scorecard. As of March 1, the state had provided $186.4 million in housing assistance to 23,000 families.