ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Ameren Missouri launches a program to help people with no place to call home. The new energy assistance program aims to help them return to permanent housing.

Through the New Start Energy Relief Program, the company is pledging a total of $1.5 million over the next three years to help customers in need. Each eligible customer will be given up to $1,000 to pay off past due energy bills.

Top story: Jefferson County man shot while confronting car clouters

To qualify, applicants must have been an Ameren Missouri electric service customer. They must have an unpaid bill and have been homeless or in a shelter for the homeless in the past year.