NECAC suspends new rent-assistance applications

June 09, 2020

COVID-19 is forcing the not-for-profit North East Community Action Corporation (NECAC) to stop taking applications for a rent-assistance program starting June 1, and the agency says the moratorium could last until fall or longer.
NECAC administers 2,360 Section 8 Housing Rent-Assistance vouchers in 12 Missouri counties through a contract with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The pandemic has caused an increase in the number of voucher holders who have lost their jobs or been furloughed, which has triggered a decrease in amount participants pay and a rise in costs for the agency.
“What this means is our cost per unit to administer the program goes up and we would eventually end up spending all or in excess of our funding for the program,” said NECAC Section 8 Rent-Assistance Program Director Dianna Clair.

NECAC’s budget for the program this year is $14.4 million. Applicants who completed paperwork before June 1 will remain on a waiting list for a voucher. Names are called in the order they are taken, so the waiting list is long and it could be more than a year before applicants receive a voucher.
“We were projecting to call in applicants to receive vouchers every month this year and to not have to close the waiting lists,” Clair said. “Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we stopped calling in clients due to safety concerns for both them and staff. Our main focus is to help as many families as possible and affordable housing becomes scarcer every day. I am very hopeful we can start calling families in again this fall.”
The program provides partial rent payments for low-to-moderate-income residents. NECAC makes rent-subsidy payments directly to private landlords for income-qualifying families and individuals on houses, apartments or mobile homes.
Qualifying applicants receive a voucher that pays a portion of participants’ rent depending upon the tenant’s income, number of bedrooms in the unit and the area’s fair-market rent. The rest is paid by the tenant.
NECAC inspects all rental units initially and annually to assure they meet HUD Housing Quality Standards and local zoning standards for safe and clean conditions before rent payments are issued.
NECAC has been operating the program for more than 40 years. The agency administers 640 vouchers in St. Charles County and 1,720 in Lewis, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Monroe, Pike, Ralls, Randolph, Shelby and Warren counties.
More information is available online at or by calling the Section 8 Rent-Assistance Program at 573-324-2055.