By Jan Motl

By Jan Motl

Homelessness remains one of our nation’s greatest challenges, however, we do know how to solve it — and you can help.

Click here to read the entire July 2020 newsletter

There is no doubt we are in the midst of unprecedented times with extraordinary challenges, and at Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, we continue to see how foundational housing truly is.

As states and the country begin to reopen (and perhaps close again), housing experts foresee a huge wave of evictions.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness issued a report earlier this year showing that on a single night in 2019, roughly 568,000 Americans were experiencing homelessness. One economist anticipates this number could increase by more than 40%.

In our own states, 48% of Missourians are unable to pay rent and are facing possible eviction, according to a recent CNBC report. Many of those struggling financially have had to skip rent in order to maintain a supply of money for food and medicine.

There is also an economic ripple effect as the housing market is a cornerstone to our communities. When rent isn’t paid, landlords are unable to pay mortgages, property taxes, and insurance, and maintenance employees aren’t paid. This creates an additional ripple effect which affects our education systems, as well as basic services/necessities in the community.

While there has been some assistance through the recent federal CARES ACT (the CARES ACT protections apply to less than one-third of the country’s 108 million renters) and a temporary moratorium on some evictions, these protections are coming to an end as the country begins to reopen.

Much of this can seem daunting and inevitably hopeless. Homelessness remains one of our nation’s greatest challenges, however, we do know how to solve it. The National Alliance to End Homelessness says success lies on the alignment among federal and state governments, community donors, and private homeless service providers. One such provider is Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Catholic Charities has multiple partnerships with federal and state agencies, as well as community donors, supporting housing and other services for homeless individuals. Through these programs we not only help those directly experiencing homelessness, but also those at risk of homelessness.

How? By providing Permanent Supportive Housing to individuals with disabilities, to veterans; by temporarily easing the burden of bill payments such as rent and utilities, that, if not remedied quickly, could lead to eviction; by assisting with employment preparation and job attainment to assure economic independence, and by working with community partners to ensure basic needs are met for all who live in our communities.

Most, if not all, who read this newsletter truly want to assist those around us in successfully maneuvering this crisis. So how can we help? There are many solutions. We can:

  • Pay attention and become informed, by listening to/reading a variety of news resources
  • Advocate for our community by contacting legislators and supporting needed federal and state assistance packages, allowing renters to remain in their homes and prevent ripple effects for others in the community
  • Vote for government officials who will assist with housing for not only those who are marginalized, downtrodden, and those now at risk of losing their housing
  • Assist local non-profit agencies, such as Catholic Charities, who work toward keeping individuals and families housed by volunteering or making financial donations

The current crises affect all of us and it will take all of us to resolve it. For more information on our Housing Services, contact Jan Motl at


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