Tag Archives: Advocacy

100,000 Homes in the Times

Sometime in June, the 100,000 Homes Campaign — an initiative launched four years ago to help communities around the country place 100,000 chronically homeless people into permanent supportive housing — expects to announce that it has reached its goal…

The campaign … has helped to shift the way homeless organizations and agencies around the country set goals, measure progress, prioritize individuals and coordinate their efforts to house people living on the streets.

– from The Push to End Chronic Homelessness Is Working by David Bornstein

Congratulations to Community Solutions, the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, and all the local campaigns (including our own here in KC!) on nearly reaching the campaign’s goal, and on another high-profile media piece!

What’s next for the local campaign?

  • Integrating our housing placement team and outreach team meetings into the emerging Greater Kansas City coordinated housing system
  • Determining local interest in Community Solutions’ next project, Zero: 2016
  • Continue providing and improving permanent housing options for people experiencing homelessness in KC!

You can get involved, especially if you are a permanent housing or rapid re-housing provider, whether you use MAACLink or not; if you’re interested, would you contact us?

Advocate for Utilicare Funding

Many of us are still reeling from the effects of the polar vortex that swept through our nation this winter.  With the weather improving and schools back in session, I thought we were out of the woods, until our utility bill came.  I was absolutely shocked when I saw our utility bill had increased 50% from last month. Despite my shock and horror at my own situation, I realize there are people in our community who have it much worse.

Unfortunately it’s some of our most vulnerable neighbors that suffer the greatest in these timesbills  of severe weather.  Many of the elderly and disabled live in sub-par housing with minimal insulation, draft windows and poor heating systems which can lead to even higher utility bills.  In addition many of them are on a fixed income and simply don’t have the money to pay for a higher than average utility bill.

If you want to help your neighbors in need this winter, but aren’t able to donate money, you can advocate for Utilicare funding in Missouri.  Utilicare funding helps those who are elderly and disabled during times like these when they are needing help paying their heating bills.  The best way to advocate for this funding is to write to your representatives and tell them about the need for Utilicare.   To get involved you can check out Megan’s Blog post Letters of Support for MO Utilicare and get to work writing your representatives.

More work to do

We took our youngest to urgent care over the weekend. It was Super Bowl Sunday. Her fever wouldn’t come down. After hearing her symptoms, the nurse told me we should really get her in, if at all possible. It was barely a second thought for me. I almost didn’t cringe at the thought of potentially meeting our high deductible so early in the year. We have health insurance.

Then, my husband and I both missed work days this week to stay home with her. That wasn’t a second thought at all. That was shuffling meetings, getting some work done while she napped. I have sick time; he has dependent leave.

Then, on what surely must have been the coldest night in Kansas City history, our furnace stopped blowing. That was a call to the service company, finding out they weren’t doing any house calls until the following day, and then a free visit from our neighbor who, fortunately for us, is a HVAC genius. We have social supports.

I get phone calls on a regular basis from people, who, if any of the above things had happened, would send their world into a tailspin. People who are desperately trying to figure out who can help them keep their utilities on. People who have no idea where they’re going to sleep tomorrow night after their time at the emergency shelter is officially up. People who are working hard but still falling behind.

I am keenly aware of how fortunate my family is to have health insurance. We’re not going to have to skip meals or figure out which utility bill can go without being paid because we took Mary to urgent care. We are lucky to have jobs with benefits. Neither of us went without pay or got fired because we chose to take care of a sick baby instead of report to the office. We are thankful to have supports all around us: family, friends, and in this case, a neighbor.

I would like my girls to know a society in which we don’t think of poverty as a character failing or a lack of motivation, but rather, a shortage of money. I would like them to take it for granted that anyone who works can make a living wage. I want them to be bewildered when we try to explain homelessness to them. Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty. We have some more work to do.

Letters of Support for MO Utilicare

Join MAAC in sending a letter of support for MO Utilicare to Gov. Nixon

MO Utilicare is similar to federal LIHEAP funding, but originates at the state level.  MO discontinued Utilicare several years ago due to budget problems, but may now be willing to consider it again.  You can read more about Utilicare on the LIHEAP website here:

http://liheap.ncat.org/legislation/mofa.htm

The Committee to Keep Missourians Warm (CKMW) is driving a letter campaign to Gov. Nixon to get his support.  Below is the letter produced by the committee and attached is the letter sent on behalf of MAAC.  MAAC would like to encourage other individuals and agencies to write letters of support to Gov. Nixon as soon as possible. You can send your letters to:

Office of Governor Jay Nixon, Att:  John Watson, Chief of Staff, P.O. Box 720, Jefferson City, MO 65102

To:

Address, City, State  Zip

RE:  Utilicare Funding

To Whom It Man Concern:

Again this year there is a shortfall in LIHEAP funding.   LIHEAP stands for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, funded by the federal government.

The need is far greater than ever before.  Individuals that have never sought help are now in the trenches just trying to provide for their families and to survive.  The largest growing sector requesting assistance—-our State’s Veterans

Thousands of Missourians are struggling to pay their utility bills.   Need in Missouri has continued to grow while funding has diminished dramatically.

  • Over the past seven years, LIHEAP funding for Missouri has been reduced from $107 million in 2007 to a projected $64 million in fiscal 2014.
  • In 2007, 124,000 households received assistance and approximately 145,000 in 2013.

We are serving more needy families with less while the need per home is increasing.   A troubling trend for the growing number of those in need.

We are asking Governor Nixon and the Legislature of Missouri to appropriate $10 million for Utilicare to assist those facing hardship.  Missouri’s Utilicare is a stop-gap for the elderly, disabled and income qualified Missourians to assist them with their winter utility bills.

We’d appreciate your support to fund the Utilicare program thru a supplemental appropriation.

All Missourians deserve the right to be warm in the winter.

We hope you will consider our plea.

Thank you,

Your name & Agency

 

MAAC’s letter of support for Utilicare:

Utilicare 1-3-2014 MAAC Ltrhd