KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Saturday marks the end of nationwide moratorium on evictions, as well as relief money for renters tied to the pandemic.
In Kansas City, nearly $8 million in relief funding has gone to struggling renters. But the moratorium ends this weekend, and although 58% of Kansas City’s allotment of money has been handed out, there are more who need help staying in their homes.
Close to 1,700 Kansas City households took advantage of the money, keeping them from being sent to the streets.
“It’s sad that we find ourselves in this position,” Mason Andrew Kilpatrick, a spokesperson for KC Tenants said Friday. “I had a call earlier today with a tenant who is moving out of their house tomorrow, and she doesn’t have a place to stay.”
Phones continue to ring at KC Tenants, an advocacy group that’s fighting to protect renters from evictions.
Kilpatrick said lawmakers could extend the moratorium if they wanted to. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has already extended it twice, and there’s no indication that will happen again.
KC Tenants has complained about the process of applying for relief, and that doing so online is unfair since some people don’t have internet access.
“A lot of these tenants and programs just need more time. A lot of these city officials and these city court judges aren’t doing anything, even thought they have the authority to do so,” Kilpatrick said.
Kansas City’s Department of Housing and Neighborhoods received nearly 7,000 applications for assistance. Another round of funding is expected by September from federal government levels.
“The need is great. I think we all know that. I think we are overwhelmed by the amount of people who actually need the assistance,” said John Baccala, a spokesperson for Kansas City’s Department of Housing and Neighborhoods.
Baccala said the city is exploring potential use of vacant buildings and housing to use as temporary housing for people in need.
“We’re looking at diverge housing. We’re looking at the land bank. We’re looking at the dollar homes through the land bank. There are a lot of plans out there. We’d like to have some types of faculties for 500 before the end of the year,” Baccala said.
Until September, more housing relief money is available at the state level in Missouri. Whether landlords will immediately begin evicting people on Saturday is yet to be seen.