The Missouri Senate voted unanimously Monday to approve House Bill 16, which designates $324 million in rent assistance for renters and landlords.
The bill, which now goes to Gov. Mike Parson for final approval, was introduced Jan. 14 by Rep. Cody Smith, R-Carthage, and aimed to move federal aid for helping with utility payments and support for renters and landlords struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The aid can provide rent assistance for up to 12 months and will be accessible through the Missouri Housing Development Commission.
The $324 million budget is part of the $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program launched Jan. 5, according to previous Missourian reporting.
Missouri had processed more than 17,000 eviction filings since mid-March 2020, according to data from the Eviction Lab, an information project by Princeton University. Fifty-two of them were from Boone County.
Under federal guidelines, renter households eligible for the relief are those with a household income “at or below 80% of the area median.” Also eligible are households with one or more individuals who qualify for unemployment benefits or have experienced a reduction in income, incurred “significant costs” or experienced financial hardship because of COVID-19 or can demonstrate “a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability.”
State officials have said the estimated number of households at risk of eviction in the state is between 150,000 and 230,000, and the estimated rent shortfall is between $294 and $417 million, according to previous reporting.