Spikes in eviction notices, utility shutoffs add to dangerous-heat concern

Updated: Jun. 16, 2021 at 7:28 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - With the current heatwave potentially leading to a dangerous situation for those without air conditioning, there comes an added safety concern with a recent spike in eviction notices and utility shutoffs across Kansas.

For the last year, there was a federal ban on evictions and utility shutoffs because of the pandemic. Now, that ban has ended. The Center of Hope, a homeless prevention program in Wichita, is working to assist those impacted by shutoffs and eviction notices.

“We have just had a tremendous volume of calls for assistance at the Center of Hope, people needing help with rent and utilities,” Center of Hope Executive Director George Dinkel said.

The Center of Hope reports taking phone call after phone call since the ban on evictions and shutoffs ended.

“It’s similar to the hospitals when the hospitals were crowded, because so many people were coming in,” Dinkel said. “We don’t have enough manpower to handle the volume of calls coming in, that’s the problem.”

It’s an even more urgent problem with outside temperatures approaching and exceeding triple digits across Kansas this week. Some are forced to face it without air conditioning.

After a year of record-high unemployment, more Kansans are now at risk of eviction and losing power. There is help available, but it’s going to take time.

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