INDPENDENCE, Mo. – Renters living in Jackson County, Missouri, but outside the Kansas City limits, who need help paying their landlord and utilities due to COVID-19 hardships can apply help in a new location.
The Community Services League (CSL) operates the county’s Emergency Rent Assistance Program (ERAP).
This year, she opened a new office at 103 North Main Street in Independence. The agency has also hired 10 case managers, several of whom are now working in offices during the second flooding of the Independence Square building.
Aid program applicants can fill out an online application or drop by the new office, or any other CSL location, during business hours with or without an appointment.
“I don’t think it can be overstated how important these funds are to families in need,” said Lynn Rose, CSL’s Senior Programs Officer, who oversees ERAP operations.
The Community Services League has $25 million to award this year.
In 2021, it distributed over $11 million and stopped 1,000 evictions in its first 100 days of operation.
Eligible households can use the funds to pay up to 15 months of rent, water, electricity, waste, sewer and other utility bills.
In Jackson County, CSL sends funds directly to property owners and utility companies. The checkout process is one of many levels of compliance to prevent fraud.
“It’s really life changing. We’ve seen tears, huge gratitude,” Rose said. “What we’re trying to do is avoid evictions, avoid housing disruptions, and of course , there is a fallout to that: children stay in school, people can keep their jobs, we are not creating a transitional society . People stay stable.
To view eligibility criteria and apply for assistance, visit the Jackson County ERAP website.
The City of Kansas City and Clay County offer similar rental assistance programs.
In Kansas, tenants can request assistance through a statewide system called KERA.