City services get kudos

Last week, the front porch collapsed on the iconic “cougar” house in the Scarritt Renaissance neighborhood. It would be easy to focus on the eager anticipation expressed by neighbors calling for the immediate demolition of the historic home with complete disregard for the widow residing therein, but we’ll leave that for the social media trolls.

Instead, this week we’re going to celebrate the use of two programs administered by the City of Kansas City, Missouri that allow low-income homeowners to have their homes repaired so they can continue to be a part of the community they love.

As we noted in our breaking news story, repairs to the cougar house, built in 1889, will be covered by two programs: The Municipal Court Fund and the Targeted Home Repair Fund.

The Municipal Court Fund Program (MCFP) is, according to the city’s web site, “designed to provide assistance to those citizens of Kansas City, Missouri (City) who, through financial hardship, find themselves in violation of the City’s Property Maintenance Code.” In this news-dog’s opinion, the cougar house is a perfect candidate for this option given the financial circumstances of the homeowner.

The Targeted Home Repair Program is administered through HUD and is available to qualified low-income homeowners with home maintenance issues. Again, the cougar house is a textbook candidate for this program. Without either of these programs, the homeowner at the cougar house would have been unceremoniously booted out on the street with little or no regard for her well-being, much less that of her beloved pooch Rocky.

To the neighbors who, anxiously and without apology or compassion, called for the immediate demolition of the home and the displacement of the homeowner, you really should be ashamed of yourselves. Maybe instead of calling for the wrecking ball, you could have extended a hand of assistance with some resources from your pocket, like some sweat and elbow grease. Your lack of compassion for those less fortunate is sickening to this dog. Hopefully, after the home is repaired, she can get a hand in keeping things in order instead of a boot in the butt.

To those who did yeoman’s work in the saving of this home and the homeowner, this dog issues a huge thank you for what you did. KCPD Social worker Trena Miller did the grunt work on the project with the blessing of Major Greg Volker at East Patrol. CIO Greg Smith was instrumental as well, along with a host of City Hall employees in the Neighborhood and Housing Services Department, who all worked toward the same goal of avoiding displacement for this woman and her dog. To the firefighters (top brass, no less), including Chief Gary Reece, who agonized over the prospect of removing a widow on a fixed income from her longtime home, this dog offers a huge thank you. The compassion exhibited last Wednesday by Police and Fire Department officials attempting to render service and aid in a torrential downpour truly goes above and beyond. Duly noted in this dog’s eyes. Thank you for your service.

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