ST. LOUIS ( -- As the eviction freeze came to an end over the weekend, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones announced several efforts to help renters in need, including issuing direct payments.

As the eviction freeze came to an end over the weekend, St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones will issue direct payments to tenants needing housing assistance.

Currently, there are over 3,000 evictions pending in the city. On Sunday, Jones said her administration would explore options to address the crisis and they delivered a solution Monday. According to a press release, $1.5 million funds will be allocated to help expedite to applicants’ process in addition to the direct payments. Federal regulations previously required rental and utility assistance to go directly to landlords or utility companies, but updated U.S. Treasury guidelines note the unwillingness of some landlords to participate in the program, and now allow funds to go directly to tenants.

In effort to conveniently get resources out to the community, Jones announced in-person clinics will open across St. Louis to help renters on Aug. 20 and 21. The first clinic will open at the St. Louis Community College- Forest Park location at 5600 Oakland Ave. The event will begin from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturday.

Volunteers are needed and should apply online, the mayor said.  

“If you are working with an organization or have an open case, please continue to work with that organization. Leave the walk-in clinics for individuals who have not had a chance to connect with an organization,” Executive Director of Horizon Housing Shanna Nieweg. Horizon Housing, a non-profit, is one of the providers to issue direct payments this week. 

Cori Bush outside of the Capitol -- eivction freeze

Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Cori Bush were pictured outside of the Capitol steps after the eviction freeze ended. 

“My administration allocated nearly $3 million to get more shots in arms and expedite rental and utility assistance for families, and we continue to streamline the process to reach families at risk of eviction,” said the mayor said. “Confronting both these crises is essential to protect St. Louis families and stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Sunday, Jones expressed her displeasure as the eviction moratorium expired.

“I am disappointed in our federal government’s inability to extend this critical protection for families and appreciate our Congresswoman Cori Bush’s efforts to renew the eviction moratorium. Keeping families in their homes will help us fight COVID-19,” Jones said.

Congresswoman Cori Bush vowed to push for Americans to stay in their homes through the end of the year. The St. Louis native slept outside of the US Capitol overnight to appeal to her colleagues to extend the moratorium.

“We are now in an eviction emergency,” said Bush. “Allowing the federal eviction moratorium to expire was a moral failure, but we came together last night to demonstrate that our movement is strong, and our work is not finished. As someone who has been evicted and unhoused, I know the trauma that millions of families could face if we do not act immediately. As lawmakers, we have a duty to protect the people we represent. I’m calling on every single one of my colleagues to come back to Washington, D.C. and use our power to take care of each and every one of our neighbors.”

If you need rental or utility assistance, you should dial 211 or 800-427-4626. To see if you meet the criteria, click here.

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