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Thousands wait for emergency housing assistance in Kansas City, Missouri

Applications on hold until Sept. 1
housing
Posted at 6:15 PM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 19:15:48-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Thousands of emergency housing applications have yet to be processed in Kansas City, Missouri, which are all households who need immediate help. They could face eviction if the federal moratorium isn't extended before July 31.

"We were essentially flying the plane as we built it," Becky Poitras, development director at Metro Lutheran Ministry said.

MLM is one of 17 agencies in KCMO scrambling to get millions of federal funding to struggling households.

"The eviction moratorium was extended based on these new dollars being available," Poitras said. "But we've only had a few months to figure out how to get assistance out the door and do it effectively. So the moratorium must be extended by Congress today."

As of Friday evening, the House wasn't able to get the votes to extend the moratorium.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended an eviction moratorium through Sept. 30, but only for homeowners of properties financed or guaranteed by the USDA.

KCMO received more than 7,000 applications for housing assistance but is nowhere near checking every name off the list.

The city is not accepting applications until Sept. 1, when the next round of funding will come in.

"It's hard to tell somebody their application still hasn't been assigned to one of those agencies and they have to wait," Poitras said.

Split between the 17 groups, the city helped 1,672 households and used almost $8 million of the $14.8 million they received.

"The numbers have steadily increased from March April, May and June and I would expect when we get the numbers for July, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the spike continues to go up," John Baccala, spokesperson for the Housing and Community Development Department said.

The city stresses the importance of filling out the applications correctly to avoid waiting several more weeks. Applicants should have identification, income verification, rental agreement and documentation showing how much they owe.

"We are all asking for households to have patience," Poitras said.

Folks can still apply for state aid through the city's website or through their county's website.