In my opinion, looking after our most vulnerable citizens is the most important job of state government. We have been tested as much as we ever have been, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through it all, I think our state has survived as well as can be imagined, but we still have challenges to face.
Last week, the Missouri Senate sent House Bill 16 to the governor for his approval. This measure is the supplemental budget for the current fiscal year, which continues through June 30. The bill would allow the state to appropriate approximately $325 million to the Missouri Housing Development Commission for rental and utility assistance for low-income households. This is crucial for a large portion of our population, and something they have been hoping to see for some time.
Low-income households in our state tend to include the elderly and children, two of the most vulnerable groups we see in Missouri. Getting them this assistance should be a big boost, because having to choose between paying rent and eating, or paying rent and buying necessary medication is something no one should ever to have to face. The assistance is for the landlords of these rental properties, as well as those who rent, so everybody should be taken care of.
Right now, it is unknown what help could come from the federal government next. Rest assured, there are a lot of us in Missouri who are working with our counterparts everywhere we can, in order to make sure everybody gets a hand when they need it. I want to see this pandemic end as much as everyone else does, and we are working tirelessly to see to it every option is on the table for every Missourian who needs extra help right now.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is 573-751-1415, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.
Dan Hegeman is the 12th District State Senator.