KANSAS CITY, MO. – We may be out of the freezer now, but many fear the sticker shock that could appear in this month’s heating bills. It couldn’t get worse if many more families drop by during the pandemic.
Money is running out to help those struggling with rent and supplies. Combine that with higher bills from the cold blast, along with shutdown and eviction moratoriums that are about to expire and many families could get into trouble.
Heather Landis is still swaying from a massive fire at the Waldo Heights Apartments that changed her life.
“I’ve never let anything I ever owned be stolen from me,” she said.
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It was another devastating blow in an already difficult year. Landis is recovering from a debilitating car accident and had to leave her job because of health problems that put her at high risk for COVID-19. Donations helped right after the fire, but it has been a struggle to get through since then.
“We tried everything we can. Overturn door as we can. Every little thing to make money, ”said Landis.
This month she called United Way 211, which directed her to several organizations for help with her bills.
“They all said, ‘We have no money. We are dealing with COVID and other people who need help, ”Landis said.
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Blaine Proctor, CEO of Save, Inc., Kansas City, said since the pandemic began, requests for help within his organization have exploded from around 10 calls a week to more than 50 calls a day.
“The people are desperate. They don’t want to lose their homes, ”said Proctor.
Thanks to the CARES act, the nonprofit still has some funding to help people like Landis, but Proctor fears the next few weeks could wipe out the remains.
“We really believe that once the moratorium is lifted we will be slaughtered. We’re just inundated with inquiries, ”said Proctor.
Proctor and Landis just hope that more help will come from Congress soon. Without it, the consequences could be dire.
What must be done to avoid future blackouts?
“Our fear is that there will be a lot of people falling through the cracks,” said Proctor.
“Every little bit helps because there are people like me who have nothing or resources to get something and it helps when we get it,” said Landis.
If you can help, you can donate directly to Landis here.
Save, Inc. of Kansas City accepts donations online here. You can also contribute cash, clothing, and personal care products.
A list of organizations that have received CARES Act funding for rental and utility benefits in Kansas City is available here.
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