Home has never been more important. Our homes have always provided shelter, but in the midst of the COVID pandemic, home has become so much more. Home is where we receive our health care, educate our children, conduct business, and connect virtually for worship services, community meetings, and social gatherings.
While moratoriums have provided tenants with temporary protection from eviction, rent continues to accrue each month, leaving families unsure how they will pay arrears, and leaving landlords without monthly income to pay bills and manage maintenance and upkeep.
The Kansas Eviction Prevention Program (KEPP) provides rental assistance to households that have missed one or more rent payment(s) as a result of the COVID pandemic. Landlords and tenants apply via a joint online process. If the application is approved, the landlord receives rental assistance funds directly from KEPP, applies KEPP funds to the tenant’s account, and waives late fees for the month(s) assistance was awarded. Approved tenants are eligible for a maximum of nine months of assistance, not to exceed $5,000 per household.
To apply or for more information, CLICK HERE.
by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker -- Kansas AgrAbility, a government-funded program which provides information and assistance to farmers with disabilities and limitations, is holding a virtual state fair this month.
The AgrAbility program was first brought to life through the 1990 Farm Bill. Through the program, disabled farmers and ranchers are provided assistance—often through assistive technology—so they can be successful and productive members of the farming community. Common disabilities and conditions Kansas AgrAbility program participants face are arthritis, amputation, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, stroke, diabetes, respiratory problems, and visual or hearing loss. Some of the services AgrAbility offers are on-site assessments to identify barriers and challenges, referrals on agriculture, safety, and disabilities, recommendations for appropriate assistive technologies (such as equipment, devices, or modified working methods), and peer support to connect farmers.
This month is the 75th anniversary of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, as well as the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This is the first AgrAbility virtual fair.
“AgrAbility has 19 states that are represented,” explains Tawnie Larson, Kansas AgrAbility project coordinator. “We all get together and talk—the marketing people—and I think it was Pennsylvania who suggested, 'You know, none of us are getting to go to the state fair and share AgrAbility with everyone like we usually do, so let's have a virtual state fair. Everyone else is doing virtual stuff, so why not?'”
The way this works is, the national AgrAbility program is holding one long fair that lasts throughout the month of October. Each of the 19 state chapters have their own day to share information virtually. Kansas' day to share is Thursday, October 22nd.
“Our day is going to consist a lot of sharing assistive technology, which we have used with our customers and had success with,” Larson says. “That way we can share that not only with the other states, but also with people who follow them and national AgrAbility as well.”
Those interested in the fair can find out more and follow the event at Kansas AgrAbility's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/AgrAbility-Virtual-State-Fair-105811844494828.
“Here at Kansas AgrAbility, our staff is really excited,” Larson says. “They've all made videos and we've put that all together and we're excited to share that with other states. We're also excited about what we can learn from them and their followers, so I think we'll have a bigger audience than we typically would if we just shared it on our site. We're pretty active on social media, but this is an opportunity for us all to come together and sort of concentrate everything into one time period.”
PITTSBURG, Kan.—The SKIL Resource Center and Kansas Poor People’s Campaign joined forces in Pittsburg Saturday, October 3, 2020 to march for the expansion of Medicaid in the state. SKIL President/CEO Shari Coatney, other SKIL employees, representatives of Kansas Poor People’s Campaign and others called for systems change in Kansas’ healthcare system during a peaceful protest march that began at the Pittsburg SKIL office, stopped at Senator Jerry Moran’s office and concluded at the public pavilion west of Broadway St.
Since 2014, Kansas has lost millions of dollars because it has refused to expand Medicaid, causing great stress on community programs and services that cannot meet the needs that healthcare would, according to Kansas Poor People’s Campaign. SKIL and the Campaign hosted the march because Kansas continues its refusal to expand Medicaid healthcare coverage, even amid the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
“It is exciting to be working with Poor People’s Campaign to bring awareness to the issues regarding our state not expanding Medicaid,” Coatney said in a column posted October 4, 2020 on SKIL’s website about the event.
“Medicaid expansion would allow many people who work as personal care attendants to have access to medical coverage that, in return, would help people level the playing field when hiring attendants,” she said in the column. “Many times good, caring people will have to leave their jobs as caregivers to get health insurance. This leaves a shortage of attendants.”
Andy Rausch, a southeast Kansas resident and SKIL employee, quoted in a news release by Kansas Poor People’s Campaign, said, “I am one of many Kansans for whom Medicaid has been beneficial. I had a heart transplant in 2018. Had I not had that transplant, which I got only because I had Medicaid, I wouldn’t be here today. My children would have no father.”
For more information, please contact Christina Blair, Pittsburg SKIL Independent Living Coordinator and the local contact for the event, at: 620-231-6780 or toll-free at: 1-866-927-6780. SKIL and Poor People’s Campaign partnered for this event.
October 9, 2020 – Thank you for reading my column, "Hello From Shari". There will be no column this week; however, it will return soon. I hope you are enjoying my words and life observations.
With love and smiles, Shari