After waiting for months, Ferguson landlord finally receives federal rental assistance after FOX 2 intervention

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FERGUSON, Mo. – “You’re going to have to talk to a manager. I’m going to have to escalate it. I’m so sick of that word ‘escalation,’ because that’s all they keep telling me is ‘escalation.’ I’m tired of hearing ‘escalation!’ I want some results!” said landlord Shantai Wadley.

In July, Wadley was approved for more than $8,500 in federal eviction aid through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. When summer turned to fall and the money hadn’t dropped, she worried St. Louis County dropped the ball.

“They’re saying we can see the funds. We can see you were approved, but we don’t see that the funds have been released. I’m like, well, can’t somebody just press a button and release the funds? Just press a button and release the funds! They’re approved! The money is there! The government sent you the money, the money is there!” Wadley said.

She got frustrated after hearing St. Louis County Executive Sam Page say funds had already been released.

“I’m happy to report that we have issued more than $18 million in rental assistance to nearly 3,000 households,” Page said.

The money County Executive Page referenced was 68% of the $26.6 million in federal funds St. Louis County had received at the time. With more than $7 million to spare, Wadley was left to wonder why she was still waiting for her money, months after she was approved.

“They’re passing the blame back and forth,” she said. “Help me so I can get out of this situation because it’s depressing and I’m not trying to have a mental breakdown.”

FOX 2 brought Wadley’s situation to St. Louis County’s attention. A spokesperson told us it appeared the initial payment was sent but a routing or account issue caused the hold-up. The county thanked us for alerting them to the problem and quickly fixed it.

“I can’t help but smile because I’m just so happy,” Wadley said.

From months of frustration over escalation to jubilation!

“The very next day when I got up for work, my funds were there. I was happy about that. I was feeling like St. Louis County was playing me; as if I was a peon and that my voice did not matter,” she said. “I really appreciate it. Thank you. I’m trying not to cry. I’m so grateful.”

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