Salvation Army seeing more than a 300% increase in people needing rental and utility assistance

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Jamie King and her family, like many others, are feeling the pinch of the pandemic.

“Our savings started running out around last month,” said the mother of two.

King says between her fiancée being laid off back in April and other pressing bills, an eviction notice was a worry.

“It was actually a couple days before, and we were approaching rent, and we know this like we aren’t going to be able to make ends meet this month. This isn’t gonna work,” said King.

Two days after getting a notice, the Salvation Army was able to offer some rental assistance.

“I was a hot mess! I was like I cannot believe they are going to help us,” she said.

In July 2020, the Salvation Army has helped 314% more families compared to last year. Jill Skaggs, Salvation Army Director of Emergency Social Services, says their call volume for rent and utility assistance is even higher than that.

“Those people are our first time clients. I would say 90% of them had never need assistance.”

Now, that the federal moratorium has expired, Skaggs suspects that the number of people needing help will grow.

“I think people were planning to have jobs or to be full-time, back to their regular work, and it’s just so up in the air. We just don’t know with the ups and downs of bars and restaurants. So we do expect August to be a really busy month for us.”

For King, this was her first time asking for assistance from the Salvation Army. She is encouraging others if they need help to not be afraid to ask.

“There are people with really good hearts out there. I know it’s hard to swallow your pride, trust me I know, but after we asked I was like I should have done this sooner.”

The rental and utility assistance is available for people whose jobs have been impacted specifically because of the pandemic. If you would like to apply for the assistance, you can call the Salvation Army at (316) 263-2769.

If you would like to help contribute to the assistance fund, you can click here.

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