November 23, 2021

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Due to the serious housing crisis happening in communities throughout our county and across the nation, Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. today is recommending the immediate appropriation of $500,000 from the County’s Homeless Assistance Fund.

The County Executive’s proposal was originally included in his proposed 2022 budget, but it could not go into effect until at least January 1, 2022. However, if the County Legislature were to approve the proposal, funding could be made available to local non-profits weeks, if not months sooner.

“Extreme weather conditions are upon us and we don’t have any time to waste if we want to protect some of our most vulnerable residents,” said Jackson County Executive Frank White, Jr. “Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘government exists for one purpose – to make things better for all people,’ and I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to provide a lifeline during these uncertain times. With the Legislature’s approval of this funding proposal, we can reduce the risk of homeless persons finding themselves in a dangerous, life-threatening situation.” 

“Instead of letting this money sit in the bank, let’s get it to the agencies in our community who are willing to support the homeless but need the financial assistance to do so,” said Jackson County Legislator Scott Burnett, 1st District. “The County has the resources to help agencies provide immediate relief to those without warm and safe shelter before the weather gets bad. I understand this amount funding is not enough to solve the problem, but it provides a starting point as we continue our work to find long-term solutions.”

The Homeless Assistance Fund is administered by the Jackson County Housing Resources Commission and provides financial assistance to agencies that serve homeless persons. According to state law, agencies eligible to receive funds are those that: 

  • Provide emergency short and long-term shelter
  • Assist with prevention of residential foreclosures and evictions
  • Coordinate existing community services
  • Facilitate projects to encourage self-sufficiency of participants and transition from dependency on subsidized housing 

County Executive White’s proposal could also provide support for ongoing efforts throughout the County, including with Kansas City’s Houseless Task Force which is working to provide safe and warm housing for the homeless during the winter.

“Kansas City’s Houseless Task Force is working collaboratively with key stakeholders on developing successful outcomes such as an Extreme Weather Activation Plan,” said Kansas City Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw, Chairwoman of Kansas City’s Houseless Task Force. “Collaborative efforts like this are critical to establishing long-term solutions for those experiencing houselessness. There is more work to do. We look forward to collaborating with Jackson County on this important work.”

The County is currently seeking proposals from qualified agencies to provide homeless services. Those proposals are due no later than 2 p.m. on Tuesday, December 14, 2021. Information on how those agencies can submit a proposal can be found online here: https://jccweb.jacksongov.org/VendorRegistration/bids/76-21%20Homeless%20Services.pdf.

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