Jackson County hopes to double emergency rental assistance

Jackson County rental assistance
Posted at 6:16 PM, Sep 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-01 19:16:50-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County has doled out more than $6 million in rental and utility assistance since April 5, but County Executive Frank White Jr. recommended doubling that amount.

White said Wednesday he plans to recommend using an additional $6,239,931 in federal funding for a second round of the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

Since the first round of grants opened nearly five months ago, 1,578 households adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Jackson County — located outside Kansas City, Missouri, city limits — have received an average of $3,873 in assistance for current and past due rent and utility bills.

A total of $6,112,994.34 was paid out during the first round of grants, White’s office said Wednesday in announcing his plan for a second round.

The Community Services League and United Way of Greater Kansas City would continue to administer the program with help managing and processing applications from the Grandview Assistance Program, Hope House, Lee’s Summit Social Services and Raytown Emergency Assistance Program.

“We have had great success with this program,” White said in a statement. “Our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure that our shared commitment of keeping families in their homes with running water and the lights on is accomplished, but the pandemic is not over and we know many are still in need of help. This additional funding will allow us to continue to address those hardships families are dealing with and provide them peace of mind to keep their loved ones safe, housed and healthy.”

There are approximately 900 applications currently pending for the program.

Last week, The U.S. Supreme Court ended the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s eviction moratorium, which was enacted under former President Trump and extended four times — including early August at President Biden’s direction.

When the moratorium lapsed in June, nonprofits that help people facing eviction said the need remains great and warned of a surge in applications for assistance.

"We continue to work cooperatively with landlords and tenants. Our message has always been, and still is, participation in the ERAP process is a win-win-win situation. The tenant gets a fresh start with delinquent bills paid; the landlord gets money they thought might never come through; and our court system is saved from a needless eviction. Eviction is a losing scenario for our tenants, landlords and community at large. Community Services League and United Way will maintain an active presence in the 16th Circuit Court, helping tenants avoid eviction and helping landlords recoup potential lost rental revenue," Community Services League President and CEO Doug Cowan said in a statement.

So far, Jackson County has spent 97% of a more than $11.5 million federal appropriation for emergency rental assistance programs.

Assuming a second round of funding is approved, any renter household in Jackson County that is behind on rent or utility payments can apply for a grant through the program (en Español).

Applicants needing help to fill out an application also may visit the Community Services League, 404 N. Noland Rd.