White seeks fast-start funding to tackle homelessness

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jackson County Director Frank White Jr. wants to speed up the allocation of money to the Homelessness Fund.

White has proposed $ 500,000 in 2022 for the fund, but will ask the Jackson County legislature to speed up the money in hopes of making it available immediately rather than waiting until after Jan. 1, 2022.

“Extreme weather conditions are upon us and we have no time to waste if we are to protect some of our most vulnerable residents,” White said in a statement announcing the proposal. “Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt once said, ‘The government exists only for one purpose: to make things better for everyone,’ and I firmly believe that it is our responsibility to provide a lifeline. rescue in these uncertain times. “

He cited the regional and national affordable housing crisis and looming winter as reasons to act quickly.

The post also included support from Jackson County lawmaker Scott Burnett, who said in a statement he would rather not let “that money stay in the bank” when nonprofits prepare to help people. homeless people need it now.

“The county has the resources to help agencies provide immediate help to those without a warm and safe shelter before the weather gets worse,” White said. “I understand that this amount (of) 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 Jackson County Homeless Assistance Fund, which is administered by the County Housing Resources Commission, provides money to community agencies that work directly with homeless people.

A request for proposals to provide services to the homeless in the county is expected by Tuesday, December 14.

Agencies help provide shelter, fight foreclosures and evictions, coordinate with other community service providers, oversee programs that promote self-reliance, and strive to help people do so. the transition to unsubsidized housing.

Ultimately, White plans to pool resources with Kansas City, Missouri, to tackle the problem countywide.

“The Kansas City Homeless Task Force is working with key stakeholders to develop positive outcomes such as an extreme weather activation plan,” Kansas City Councilor Ryana Parks said. -Shaw, who chairs the city’s homeless task force, in a statement. “Collaborative efforts like this are essential to establishing long-term solutions for people experiencing homelessness. There is more work to be done. We look forward to working with Jackson County on this important work. “

Kansas City officials having been upset while working to find solutions to roaming after receiving over $ 8 million in federal money last May.

City Council tasked City Manager Brian Platt with conduct an assessment to meet the “needs of the homeless” at the end of August. It is expected by the end of the year.

A “global and collaborative local strategic plan” is due by the end of February 2022.

The the city announced three options for starting to fix the problem last month.

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