KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tuesday marked the first day of a new month, which is often when things like rent and utility bills are due.
It can be an ominous time for millions of U.S. residents still drowning in unpaid bills because of unemployment, which surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here in the Kansas City area, the Salvation Army is one of several local groups offering help.
When the pandemic began, a number of people went to the nonprofit for help.
"Some of our corps and their food pantries saw an increase of about 400% in terms of people they were helping with food on a regular basis," Doug Donahoo, the director of public relations for the Kansas and Western Missouri Salvation Army, said.
Now, more than five months into the pandemic, the organization is trying to meet another demand.
"Folks have been unable, unfortunately, to make those payments on their utility bills, for some for several months now," Donahoo said.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment reports for July, more than 106,000 people remain unemployed in Kansas and more than 211,000 remain without jobs in Missouri.
But the Salvation Army has set up an assistance program for those in need.
"We have dollar limits right now," Donahoo said. :We have $1,000 that is available for rent or mortgage payments or $400 that is available for utility bill payment."
The application will ask for things like a lease agreement, furlough letters and pre- and post-COVID-19 bank statements.
It's a lengthy and detailed process, but it could also save someone from getting evicted.
"The Salvation Army exists to help people in crisis," Donahoo said, "whether that's crisis is global in scale or a very personal one. We don't bring people in to judge them. We bring people in to help them and offer them our assistance and support.
The Rebound Kansas City is our effort is to help metro residents play a role in moving our community forward. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas to via email to email@example.com and we welcome you to join in the conversation on the Rebound KC Facebook Group.
Whether you're Getting Back to Work after a layoff, need help Making Ends Meet during these trying times or need tips on Managing the Pressure we're all feeling, The Rebound has resources to find help. We'll also make sure local leaders are Doing What's Right to get Kansas City back track after a three-month shutdown.
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