Missouri, the Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom, and the UMKC
School of Law, to assist with legal defense for tenants in housing court.
United Way has reached over 1,600 households to stop evictions through
County, City of Kansas City, and private donations. They preserve the
housing in more than 90% of cases. The City and County each received
$25 million. These programs have a deadline of September 30, 2022, to
allocate the available ERAP funds. The City of Kansas City is not
spending the ERAP funds at the same pace as the County. Federal
guidelines may allow the deadline to be extended to December 29, 2022.
Tony Miller, County Legislator, asked if it is possible to encumber funds
by the September 30, 2022, deadline, but for rental payments in the future
beyond the deadline. Mr. MacDonald said he appreciates the creative
approach and agrees it is important to target households with school-aged
children beyond that September deadline.
Scott Burnett, County Legislator, recommended that the community
outreach staff attend area community services fairs this weekend, one at
Ruiz Library on the Westside and the other at Operation Breakthrough. He
will pass on the specific details.
Jalen Anderson, County Legislator, asked if the Legislature can assist with
this outreach effort. Ms. Rose said she will follow up with marketing
Jeanie Lauer, County Legislator, asked if the outreach efforts included the
Ministerial Alliance. Ms. Rose said they do contact churches and will
follow up with electronic versions of their marketing materials.
Ronald E. Finley, County Legislator, asked about the impact of the right to
counsel ordinance passed by the City of Kansas City. This ordinance,
which went into effect June 1, allows any Kansas City resident to have
access to a publicly-funded attorney to assist with housing court. Mr.
MacDonald said the three legal service providers have contracts with the
City to provide these services. He said it is expected that 30% of people
served with eviction will take advantage of these services. This is based on
the number of people that show up for housing court. Many tenants will
move when served with an eviction and will not go to court. This will bring a
continuation of the services provided this past year and a half. This
applies only to residents of the City of Kansas City. Other residents not
covered by the right to counsel ordinance are getting assistance through
the ERAP, but they likely will not reach as many people residing outside of
the City of Kansas City. Currently, the ERAP has reached about 20% of
the households that had an eviction filed. The availability of legal
resources has presented the biggest challenge to providing counsel to
households. The workforce situation is dire.