(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Living on the streets in St. Joseph comes with countless hurdles and receiving a stimulus check is just another one for the homeless community.
“They don’t have an address, so where do you send the checks?” said Krista Kiger, Executive Director for Community Missions.
Thankfully for St. Joseph's homeless population, one local organization is breaking down those barriers to make sure those most in need receive potentially life-changing money. Since last March, the street outreach team at Community Missions has been signing up the city's homeless to receive their stimulus checks.
“We started with a laptop in the back of my car," said Sheila Mendez, Street Outreach Case Manager for Community Missions.
CMC is knocking down the hurdles head on by replacing ID's, birth certificates and setting up a post office box. The P.O. box provides an address for staff to collect those stimulus checks and hand them out to homeless individuals.
Kiger said CMC also has helped some residents create savings accounts for their checks at the Holy Rosary Credit Union.
“Until they can get established in their own homes with their own address, we’re kinda helping them safely receive their checks, safely put their money away so they aren’t a target,” said Kiger.
Now, some 75 St. Joseph homeless residents have their stimulus checks adding roughly $50,000 back into the community, according to Mendez. CMC said this money gives those individuals living on the streets a temporary safe place to sleep, shower, do laundry and eat while working towards permanent housing.
Kiger said the stimulus checks give the homeless community an opportunity to piece their life back together.
“Homelessness is complex and it takes a while to put the pieces of the puzzle together to get stable housing, getting a birth certificate- you can’t do anything without ID. So, there’s a lot of things that this stimulus money has helped with in our homeless population,” said Kiger.
For homeless individuals needing help accessing a stimulus check, call Community Missions at (816) 390-8884.