More than 6,000 payments of $500 have been processed and distributed to residents through the Direct Cash Assistance program, according to the City of St. Louis and its partners, including the Office of the Treasurer of St. Louis, United Way of Greater St. Louis, MoCaFi Bank and Burning Cities.
The distributions total more than $3 million on the cards and account for nearly two-thirds of the dollars allocated to the program. Analysis of card usage indicates that as of mid-February, top spending categories include groceries, utilities and other essentials.
“The City of St. Louis is trying new and innovative ways to support working families who have suffered throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Tishaura O. Jones said in a statement.
“These payments are helping thousands of families put food on the table and pay bills, and we continue to work with our partners to move funds as quickly as possible within guidelines set by the U.S. Treasury, the Council of Aldermen and municipal processes. ”
Michelle Tucker, President and CEO of United Way of Greater St. Louis, said, “We understand the significant impact direct program assistance can have on thousands of city residents and families by responding basic needs such as rent, food, transportation and child care. »
City Treasurer Adam L. Layne said, “This is just the first step.
“We hope to see more residents take advantage of all other free resources available to support their financial stability, including but not limited to our free one-on-one credit counseling and alternatives to high-interest loans.”
To meet the distribution schedule as closely as possible, United Way suspended the application portal to process and review applications submitted on December 22 after receiving 10,000 applications in 4 days. The program remains in effect until funding for the remaining 9,300 is exhausted.
Direct cash assistance is one facet of the $135 million direct relief program of the U.S. Federal Bailout Act that Jones signed into law in 2021.