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story.lead_photo.caption Mike Kehoe Photo by News Tribune / News Tribune.

Officials have already seen increases in the rates of eviction applications after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down an evictions moratorium last week.

Kip Stetzler, executive director of the Missouri Housing Development Commission told commission members during the organization's meeting Wednesday staff are already seeing a higher volume of evictions.

"It's only been a few days. We don't have a lot of metrics on that," Stetzler replied to an inquiry about evictions. "The word from our staffing agency this morning is that they are starting to see a pretty high volume."

The commission, among other assignments, is tasked with channeling $300 million in federal funds into the hands of renters and landlords.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, while chairing the meeting, asked staff send updates to elected officials — reminding them of Missouri's State Assistance for Housing Relief (SAFHR) for Renters program, which provides rent and utility assistance for eligible Missouri residents whom the COVID-19 pandemic has affected.

Through the program, eligible tenants may apply for financial assistance, which is paid directly to their landlord or utility provider. It is available to cover unpaid rent or utility for the period beginning in April 2020. And, it may cover up to three months of forward rent and prepaid fuel utility assistance, according to the SAFHR website.

It would be helpful for elected officials if they had updated information about the nonprofits and other partners who assist with the SAFHR program, Kehoe continued.

"Don't re-create the wheel," Kehoe suggested. "Take the information you already have, summarize it, and pop it out via email to those elected officials."

The commission began its meeting by taking testimony from developers asking for increased funding for their 2019 housing projects, which all saw massive increases in costs for materials and labor. In July, the commission increased funding for a number of 2020 developments that hit challenges when prices inflated.

"We have some funding increase requests as the result of some construction costs increase in that market," Stetzler said.

Jason Maddox, of MACO Development Company, testified costs increased dramatically after construction began on the company's project at Oak Ridge Estates. Lumber costs doubled, he said. Labor skyrocketed.

He asked that the commission increase federal tax credits by $94,998.

In 2019, the project requested a $600,000 loan from the commission, and for $804,940 in federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program financing (9 percent tax credits).

The breaks in financing help the developer create affordable housing. The Oak Ridge Estates development consists of 44 two-bedroom units, ranging in rent from $435-$510.

Todd Lieberman, said Brinshore Development, whom he works for, is building affordable housing at 43 Antioch Road, in Kansas City, in cooperation with the Housing Authority of Kansas City. In 2019, the project requested about $1.2 million in MHDC assistance and $950,000 in LIHTC financing.

The mixed usage project includes 46 affordable units and 20 market units. A single bedroom unit in the building is to rent for $600-$700. Four-bedroom units are to rent for $900-$1,049.

Cydecton Investments, LLC, of Poplar Bluff, has two projects under way in Central Missouri, but has not gone back to the commission and asked for further assistance. In Laurie, the company is building 24 apartments. The company requested a $260,000 MHDC loan, and $260,000 in LIHTC financing for the project in 2019. Twelve one-bedroom apartments are to rent for $460, while 12 two-bedroom apartments are to rent for $540.

It also is constructing 44 affordable apartments in Versailles, where 20 one-bedroom apartments will rent for $450 a month each, and 24 two bedroom apartments are to go for $515 per month. It requested a $350,000 loan from the commission and $473,000 in through LIHTC.

Cydecton Investments has not requested further assistance. The company declined comment with the News Tribune.

To be consistent with what the commission did with 2020 developments in July, Stetzler recommended it grant staff authority to increase funding sources by up to 20 percent for developments approved under the 2019 qualifications plan. And that the increase could apply to those requests that took place Wednesday.

"As a general rule," Stetzler said, "these are closer to completion and to completely final numbers than the 2020 deals were. But we're still going to look at all these deals to the extent that we can realize some savings."

A motion to approve his proposal passed unanimously.

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