Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, Treasurer Adam Layne, United Way of Greater St. Louis, Partners Outline $500 Direct Cash Assistance Process Ahead of Applications Opening on Saturday

Jones emphasized the importance of checking eligibility on the city website, preparing documentation ahead of time, and calling ahead for assistance.

December 15, 2021 | 3 min reading time

Ahead of the applications for $500 Direct Cash Assistance opening on Saturday, Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, Treasurer Adam Layne, and partners offered an update on the $500 direct cash assistance program for 9,300 St. Louis residents ahead of the program’s application opening on December 18. Together, they re-emphasized the importance of double-checking eligibility on the city’s website, preparing documentation ahead of the application portal opening, calling ahead for in-person assistance ahead of Saturday’s application event, and the bold step St. Louis is taking to get thousands of residents the support they need.

“These $500 payments will help 9,300 St. Louis families put food on the table and pay the bills,” said Mayor Tishaura O. Jones. “Whether it’s paying off a water bill or enrolling in child care, investing money directly in working families and our communities benefits our entire city to make us stronger and safer.”

The United Way of Greater St. Louis will be holding an in-person event this weekend to assist those without internet access, seniors, and people with disabilities in applying. The in-person event will be held on Saturday, December 18, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at St. Louis Community College – Forest Park Student Center located at 5600 Oakland Avenue. Appointments can be made now through Friday, December 17, at noon by calling 1-866-948-3742. Walk-ins are not encouraged. Each appointment will be approximately 30 minutes, and the event can accommodate up to 720 appointments. 

“The impacts of COVID-19 have been devastating for many. The Direct Cash Assistance program will provide individuals and families access to basic needs, like food, shelter and keeping their homes warm as we approach the winter months,” said Regina Greer, chief impact officer of United Way of Greater St. Louis. “United Way of Greater St. Louis, through its 24/7 helpline, programs, partners, and services is committed to helping local people navigate this challenging time and connect to available resources in their community."

Studies have shown that direct cash assistance and similar universal basic income programs lift families out of poverty. The expanded federal Child Tax Credit, implemented in July, has lifted 10 million children out of poverty. Municipalities like Los Angeles, St. Paul, and Cook County, have implemented similar programs to the one in St. Louis as well.

“In order to deliver the immediate support needed in our communities, we must rethink everything and challenge everyone,” said George Burciaga with IGNITE CITIES. “Mayor Jones embodies that approach, as she and her team accelerate the delivery of relief funding to residents and the technology needed to facilitate it. Our partnership with mayors across the country, like in St. Louis, is an illustration of the blueprint we have forged to ignite change for the lives of residents with strong public-private sector collaboration."

City residents of at least 12 months who are at or under 80 percent Area Median Income (AMI) and who have lost income due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will be eligible to apply for the program when applications open. Applicants must be a resident of the City of St. Louis at the time of application and must show proof of residency 12 months prior to the date of the application. Only one individual per household will be eligible for a payment, with priority given to heads of household. A full list of eligibility requirements and Frequently Asked Questions can be found on the City website, and incomplete applications will not be accepted. Applicants who are approved can choose to receive the card via mail or electronically.

“Ensuring the rapid and secure deployment of necessary aid to communities in need during times of crisis has never been more important as the world continues to navigate an unrelenting pandemic amidst recurring natural disasters,” said Michael Froman, Vice Chairman and President of Strategic Growth for Mastercard. “In bringing our insights, tools, and investments to bear we can aid the City of St. Louis – home to many of our Mastercard colleagues -in progressing key efforts toward an equitable and inclusive recovery. And as we look ahead to the new year, we must remain focused on the revitalization of our cities, neighborhoods and communities by bringing public and private stakeholders, business owners and residents from across St. Louis together in action toward an economic foundation that serves all city residents.”

The $5 million for the Direct Cash Assistance program is one portion of the $135 million in American Rescue Plan dollars Mayor Jones is investing directly into our communities, improving public safety, public health, and getting families the support they need during difficult times. The final package was informed by more than 2,500 comments from the public and multiple community feedback sessions.

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