The City of Excelsior Springs plans to make some changes to the water assistance fund that they hope will allow more Excelsior residents to take advantage of the program.
City Manager Molly McGovern said the City looks forward to working with the Good Samaritan Center again to assist those in need.
“We think that this has been a good program for us this year,” she said. “They had some good suggestions for us and after a year of trying it out we thought let’s get back together and see what worked and what didn’t work.”
Jennifer Chappel, emergency assistance coordinator for the Good Samaritan Center, said the center currently works with the City to create an updated plan. The plan will have different options depending on the resident’s needs. The fund can either pay $80 twice per year or $160 once, which could make a difference for a family in need.
"What we discovered is that a single person is a whole lot different than the family and the budget also looks different for those people," she said.
She said for a single person, the struggle may be for a senior decided whether to pay for their medications and water or simply someone who cannot afford both food and their water bill one month.
The plan, Chappel said, to pay $80 twice in one year will allow the resident to extend their budget. They can then work with Chappel to create a new plan to make everything work.
For a family, however, one large bill can be devastating, Chappel said. They just need that one chunk of money to get them through. The $160 one-time assistance will be geared more toward that situation.
McGovern said they created the fund for this situation.
“We were mostly concerned with someone that just has a budgeting issue, typically, those are short term things or someone that is low-income and it was just a difficult issue to solve,” she said.
To qualify, Chappel said the household must be 200% or less of the poverty level. For example, a single person must make less than $1,307 per month.
The funds must be used on usage and cannot be applied toward late fees and disconnect charges.
In the past, Chappel said they found some unable or unwilling to come to GSC to receive the assistance. Coming to the center can be scary for some people.
The City found space for Chappel in the Hall of Waters to help alleviate this problem. Beginning in August, from 1-4 p.m. each Wednesday, Chappel will be in the Hall of Waters to help those who need assistance.
McGovern said the City budgeted this fund out of the water and sewer department’s budget to assist those in time of need. She said she hopes those residents who need help will now feel more comfortable taking advantage of the program.