Last year was unprecedented for the Community Assistance Council and the need, the record-breaking number of calls, the volume of requests to the organization was, at times, overwhelming. South Kansas City was hit hard by pandemic-related job and income losses, however, throughout the year CAC provided food, hygiene items, diapers, and rent and utility assistance to thousands of people, many of whom were brand new to any kind of assistance.
In January, Nob Hill apartments residents were to be displaced because the complex failed multiple inspections and CAC leaned in to help. They arranged meetings, found resources, and helped 44 families attain new, safer housing.
In March, when the world shifted, CAC pivoted to curbside pre-packed food boxes distribution, closed their clothing closet and in-person client services, and focused on the highest priorities – keeping people in homes, with working light, heat (or AC) and water, and keeping food on the table.
In 2020 7,400 individuals/1,583 families were served by the programs provided by CAC. Over 5,860 people received meals to avoid hunger, 276 families were able to maintain a basic quality of life with heat, AC, and water through emergency utility assistance, 178 families avoided homelessness through emergency rent assistance or temporary shelter, 4,940 individuals received hygiene items and 283 individuals received transportation assistance.
Also, in 2020, with support from the Children’s Services Fund of Jackson County and United Way, CAC rolled out the Empower program. For Hickman Mills families, the program provides services and long-term case management to reduce student mobility, improve mental health, and set and achieve family goals around education and employment.