Local funding helps respond to need for housing assistance

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

McCOOK, Neb. -- As the Coronavirus pandemic began, the Red Willow County Ministerial Association knew some members of the community would have a hard time meeting the basic need of housing, so a new local program was created.

A housing/utility assistance program is being coordinated through the McCook office of the Community Action Partnership of Mid-Nebraska.

The program is partially funded with a $20,000 grant from the McCook Community Foundation Fund’s COVID-19 Response Account, created to address issues specific to the crisis. Additional funding from the Sherwood Foundation has also been directed toward the program.

The program is a great example of collaboration between organizations in the community who are working to support those facing economic challenges during this pandemic, MCF Fund Advisory Committee member Peggy Been said. “These organizations have created a safety net for those who are on the edge of losing their housing or shutting off utilities because of the crisis,” she said.

Tenants and mortgage holders who are unable to make rent or mortgage payments due to being laid off or losing hours at work because of the pandemic are eligible for assistance from Community Action Partnership. If a person or family qualifies, payments are distributed directly to the landlord, lending institution or utility provider on the resident’s behalf.

Qualifications include:

• Must be from McCook or Red Willow County

• Be under the 200 percent income guidelines

• Show verification of loss of income (ex. pay-stubs, letter from employer, confirmation of applying for unemployment, or provide a phone number to employer so loss of income can be verified)

• Provide a copy of Social security card and/or ID card

• And provide a copy of disconnect bill or eviction letter.

Those needing assistance can contact the local Community Action Partnership office at (308) 345-1187 or email, aayala@mnca.net.

Community Service Coordinator Araceli Santos-Ayala asked those in need to leave their name, number and a brief message on what type of assistance they need. Almost all the information may be provided over the phone with proof of need provided via email or fax.

The housing/utility assistance grant was one of the first provided by the McCook Community Foundation Fund because of the importance of housing in the community.

“When something as unforeseen as the coronavirus hits our community, we cannot stand by and watch hardworking families struggle to make rent or mortgage payments or choose between paying utilities and buying food,” Been said, who also serves as secretary for the fund advisory committee.

“We hope the grants funded by McCook Community Foundation Fund and coordinated through the Mid-Nebraska Community Partnership Program will ease the anxiety and stress within our community.”

MCFF continues to accept grant applications from the COVID-19 Response Account on an on-going basis. Application forms, along with other grant recipients, can be found on the MCFF website, mccookfoundation.org

McCook Community Foundation Fund is an affiliated fund of the Nebraska Community Foundation.

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