Metro Lutheran Ministries (MLM) recently received a grant for $15,000 from the United Way, United for Hope to support development of the Family Stability and Empowerment Initiative. 

The Family Stability and Empowerment Initiative is a joint initiative linking MLM's Emergency Assistance program, providing short-term food and housing stability relief, with the Learning to Earning program, providing long-term support of education and employment services.

Since January 2013, these two programs have provided referrals to each other to ensure families have the services they need to become stable in the short and long term with the goal of becoming truly self-sufficient. This initiative serves individuals in Kansas City, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, who have incomes of zero to 1.5 times the federal poverty guidelines.  Emergency Assistance provides short-term relief to help stabilize clients in crisis. Food is dispersed through both a food pantry and monthly food distributions. A free breakfast is also available on Saturdays. Clients receive assistance with utility and housing bills if the household is in imminent danger of disconnection, if their utilities have already been shut off, or if they have received eviction notice. Clients also receive case management support as they access additional public programs to facilitate their long-term financial stability.  Learning to Earning provides free high school credential preparation services to those without a high school diploma. Staff provides small group instruction and one-on-one tutoring to clients. Employment services include job readiness classes, resume and interview preparation, strategic assessment of appropriate positions, online application assistance, and job search tracking. These services help families improve their long-term financial stability.  The individualized coaching, counseling, and financial support of Learning to Earning also breaks common barriers to employment for program clients. The target population is aided in the areas of grooming and attire, basic life skills, transportation for interviews, educational goals, financial assistance for job certifications, physicals and basic legal issues. These linked services aim to help individuals and families move from crisis to stabilization to self-sufficiency. 

MLM serves families of all races and religions in the Kansas City metro with incomes of zero to 1.5 times the federal poverty guideline.  MLM works to keep the “new poor” from joining the ranks of the “new homeless.” At MLM, individuals can apply for and receive temporary financial assistance to keep their families in their homes including assistance with rent, rent deposits, gas, electric, or water bill payments. In addition, families are provided long-term resources such as budget assistance, and information and referrals regarding additional community and government resources.  These long-term resources are given to prevent chronic dependence on others due to an unexpected crisis.