In early 2021, President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law. This law created a Homeowner Assistance Fund, a federal program, to give around $10 billion to the states to help households that are behind on their mortgages and other housing expenses due to COVID-19.
Eligible homeowners in Missouri who've experienced a financial hardship because of the pandemic can get a piece of the approximately $138 million allocated to the state—up to $50,000 per household—from the Missouri State Assistance for Housing Relief (SAFHR) program. This program uses federal money to help homeowners make mortgage payments and pay other home-related costs.
Again, the SAFHR program offers up to $50,000 per household. This money can be used to cover:
To qualify for relief from this program, you must have suffered a financial hardship (a material reduction in income or an increase in living expenses) after January 21, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition, you have to meet some other guidelines:
Priority for assistance will be given to socially disadvantaged individuals, such as those that have been the victim of racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias, or someone with limited English proficiency, for example.
To find out if you're potentially eligible, take this prescreening quiz.
Assistance is structured as a grant that you don't have to repay unless it comes out that the application was false, fraudulent, or materially misleading. SAFHR payments go directly to the loan servicer or other approved entity, not to homeowners.
Go to the SAFHR website to pass the prescreening quiz and create an account to apply. You'll have to provide some documentation with your application, like mortgage statements or statements for your other housing-related costs, proof of income (such as pay stubs and tax returns), and a government-issued ID (like a driver's license). Click here to get a complete list of the documents you'll need.
A deadline isn't in place to apply, but funds will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. So, if you think you might qualify, it's best to apply as soon as possible before the money runs out.
If you get an unsolicited offer by phone, in the U.S. mail, through email, or by text message offering mortgage relief or foreclosure rescue services, be wary. Scammers are increasingly targeting homeowners who've been affected by COVID-19. The SAFHR program is free. If anyone asks you to pay a fee to get housing counseling or to receive foreclosure prevention services from this program, it's a scam. Be sure to report any fraudulent activity you encounter.
If you have questions or need help with your application, call 833-541-1599 and review the SAFHR program FAQs, You may also get help from a HUD-approved housing counselor who will assist you at no cost. To find a counselor near you, go to HUD's website or call 800-569-4287.
Effective date: March 2, 2022