KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With late rent and drained emergency savings, the United Way of Greater Kansas City says people are feeling the ripple effects from the pandemic even today.

The United Way of Greater said there are more than 9,000 evictions in Jackson County a year.

But a renewed grant from the state of Missouri aims to stabilize some of those housing issues. A goal of the operation is to connect with those people and help keep them afloat and in their homes.

Christopher Reed is one beneficiary of program.

“And it put you in a state of uncertainty, not knowing if you’re going to be able to keep a roof over your family’s head,” Reed said.

Reed saw his two-income home turn into a single-income home during the pandemic. When his wife was laid off, money got tight.

“You make it work for a while. I had a savings and emergency fund. I do a couple things. I save any change from a twenty, I put over here. I save five dollar bills so I was able to put that together and help with some things,” Reed said.

“But after your emergency fund is gone and you don’t have the opportunity to replenish it because you’re in the middle of a crisis — that’s when it hits you,” Reed said.

He said his landlord was understanding, but he was still at risk of eviction.

Enter the funding through the state.

“And the grant will provide $3.3 million to help united way stabilize the housing situation of families that are experiencing housing instability,” said Jim MacDonald, vice president of community impact for the United Way of Greater Kansas City.

“Wages have not kept pace with the cost of housing, so housing affordability is the issue. Most low-income households are working and struggling to make ends meet,” MacDonald said.

The money kept reed afloat, lifting some stress that he said he children could feel.

“They know something’s wrong cause you think you’re going through the house normal but your demeanor changes, you mental changes, the way you think changes, the way you sleep changes, the way you eat changes. It affects everything,” Reed said.

“You’re embarrassed. But there’s nothing more embarrassing than telling your kids and your spouse ‘we got to move.’ and knowing that you had a chance to fix it but you didn’t do it because you were prideful,” Reed said.

The United Way estimates this grant will help about 600 families. There are a few ways to learn more information:

  • Call or contact United Way 211
  • Request assistance information at Jackson County Housing Court
  • Connect with resources through the Mid-America Regional Council, the Rose Brooks Center, or the Mattie Rhodes Center