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Here’s How You Can Get Help Paying Rent And Utility Bills In Kansas City

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas talks about the $4.5 million available for Kansas Citians to use toward rental or utility relief during a press conference at Journey to New Life on Thursday.
Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas talks about the $4.5 million available for Kansas City residents to use toward rent or utility relief during a press conference Thursday.

The money won’t cover phone or internet expenses, and you’ll need documentation to show you’re experiencing financial hardship, according to an announcement Thursday.

Kansas City residents can apply for rent and utility assistance starting Thursday as part of a $4.5 million emergency relief effort coordinated by the city and paid for by the federal government.

The goal is simple: keep people in homes with the power on. Statewide, about 18% of Missourians reported not being caught up on rental payments, according to the latest Census Bureau survey. And Kansas City nonprofits have reported a wave of requests for help throughout the pandemic. For example, a year ago, the Community Assistance Council got about 25 calls a day. In the past 24-hours, the social service agency received 130 calls for emergency help, according to the executive director.

This is part of a larger $14.8 million package for help with rent and utilities. Additional money will be doled out in the coming days and weeks, according to the city spokesman.

“Instead of having people get to a point where they're confronted with homelessness, instead of creating situations where people need to move … we want to fill that gap,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said.

How do I apply?

Kansas City residents who want assistance can reach out to the following organizations for help:

  • Metropolitan Lutheran Ministry: call 816-514-2683, apply online here or fill out a paper application at their locations.
  • Journey to New Life: call 816-960-4808 or email agrove@jtnl.org
  • reStart: call 816-886-9153 or email rentalassistance@restartinc.org
  • Community Assistance Council: call (816) 763-3277

You can also fill out this online form (Note: this is just a contact form. The program’s administrators will reach out when the application opens.)

Is there a central way to apply for help?

Not at the moment, but the city will have an online application up in the future, according to the city’s director of the Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department. You can find the latest information here.

Are there income restrictions?

Yes, your income can’t be more than 80% of the area’s median income. See the table below to find out if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Are there any other requirements?

You’ll need to show you’re experiencing financial hardship and are at “risk [of] experiencing homelessness or housing instability,” according to the city.

Do I need any documentation?

Yes, if you want help with paying rent, you’ll need your lease and paperwork showing past due rent that’s owed. For utility help, you’ll need to submit a copy of the bill. The full list of documentation requirements is here.

Are there things this money can’t cover?

The funding can’t go toward internet, phone or cable bills.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman was the Missouri government and politics reporter at KCUR 89.3.
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