Rolla City Planner Tom Coots said the Missouri Emergency Rental Arrears Program could be of assistance to renters in Rolla who have experienced reduced income due to COVID-19 and are behind in their rental payments.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission with the Missouri Department of Social Services has announced that they have created a grant from CARES Act funding to assist landlords and renters who have been directly impacted by COVID-19.

The $15 million grant, Missouri Emergency Rental Arrears Program (ERAP) has been created to reimburse landlords for up to six months of rental payments that are in arrears to assist renters and prevent evictions. Landlords who participate in this program must agree not to evict the tenant for non-payment of rent for 120 days from the date of application submission.

The new program has clear eligibility requirements.

According to Rolla City Planner Tom Coots, the renter must have reduced income due to COVID-19. The reduced income must put the household occupants on track to be below certain income limits.

In Phelps County, Coots said a household of one person over 18 years of age could be on track to earn less than $21,700. A household of two adults could earn up to $24,800. A household of four persons could earn up to $30,950 and still qualify. The income limits are based on a projection of the expected annual income based on the actual income received in the last 30 days before application.

The grant can pay for up to six months of late rent payments up to $854 per month for a one-bedroom apartment or house, $1,027 for a two bedroom unit, $1,380 for a three-bedroom unit or $1,565 for a four-bedroom unit, according to Coots.

The Missouri Housing Development Commission will begin accepting grant applications in January 2021. Information, eligibility criteria and application forms can be found on the Missouri Housing Resources website www.mohousingresources.com. Grants will be made available to both large and small landlords.

“The Rolla area has a large percentage of renters. If you are a family that has experienced reduced income due to COVID-19 and are behind in your rental payments, this program could be of assistance,” Coots said. “Property owners who are not receiving income could also use this program to replace that lost income and to retain tenants.”