South KC’s Community Assistance Council is one of five agencies first named to share $4.5 million in pandemic relief through a new Kansas City program. The CAC has been given $500,000 to help people struggling with rent and utility bills in an area roughly bounded by 85th Street on the north, Lee’s Summit on the east, Cass County Line on the south and State Line Road on the west.
Rachel Casey, CAC executive director, said her group was very happy to receive the money, “but people will be shocked to see how fast it goes back out.” She said on March 8 that the CAC already had recorded 1,600 phone calls on its rent and utility assistance line.
“There’s just no let up in the need,” she said. “It’s easy for us to do $5,000 to $10,000 a family. We’re getting calls from people who are months and months behind (in rent).”
The new money is coming through the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, part of a $14.8 million funding package approved by the City Council and made possible with federal funding from the stimulus package passed by Congress in December.
“This direct financial assistance is one of the many ways we are working to bring much needed relief and support to the people of Kansas City,” said City Manager Brian Platt. “Our residents will see us continue to expand programs that help people stay in their homes, help small businesses stay open, and help our city recover from the current economic crisis.”
Mayor Quinton Lucas voiced similar comments. “We will continue our work to help keep people in their homes, connect those who need it with long-term housing, job training services, and more, to help keep Kansas Citians warm, healthy and safe.”
The CAC’s $500,000 share follows a fundraising campaign, In From the Cold, to prevent homelessness during the winter months. The Telegraph helped establish this campaign with a $1,000 donation and other private donations followed.
To apply for help from CAC, go to cackc.org and click on the appropriate heading, such as Emergency Rent and Utilities Assistance. You will be asked to fill out a short form to begin the process. The CAC’s phone number for this program is only for those without computer access: 816-763-3277.
In addition to CAC, other agencies receiving emergency rental assistance money are Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry, Journey to New Life, reStart and Synergy Services. Additional agencies soon will be on-board to help distribute the emergency assistance. A complete list of agencies and their contact information can be found at kcmo.gov/renthelp.