Millions in virus aid for Kansas Citians in Clay County, while those in Jackson and Platte wait

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KANSAS CITY NORTH, Mo. — Kansas Citians in Clay County who’ve suffered pandemic-related losses have more than $5 million in additional federal aid now available to them.

Clay County is one of the few counties in Missouri that’s actually pushed out millions of dollars in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act money to help people who need it.

Northland city council members on Monday announced how more of this money will be spent to help domestic violence shelters deal with the surge they’ve seen during the pandemic, help Northland hospitals open specific COVID-19 units, and assist Northland schools in contract tracing and online instruction.

Perhaps the most common form of individual aid has been money to pay rent and monthly mortgages. Northland Neighborhoods Inc. is getting another million dollars for that.

The agency has been getting hundreds of calls from people in Platte and Jackson counties, but this money can’t be spent to help them.

“Platte County has done a great job, I think, of assisting small businesses with a small business grant program,” Councilman Dan Fowler said. “But that’s as far as they have gone. They haven’t done anything to help people who are very much in need. Those who are suffering from this disease, suffering from economic aspects in a direct way. Suffering with problems with their homes, apartments, suffering with health care.”

Clay County disbursed its CARES Act money back in June. Northland council members claim Jackson and Platte counties have been sitting on more than $60 million in CARES Act funds, which is preventing the city from expanding contact tracing and offering similar individual aid.

CARES Act money must be spent by Dec. 31, and some say there’s a lot of paperwork to ensure it’s spent properly.

Northland council members want Jackson and Platte counties to put politics aside and act now.

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