When tough times hit, many Kansans don’t need to look very far for a little help.
That’s the basis of a publication now available from K-State Research and Extension, titled When Your Income Drops: Community and Family Resources.
“Family and community can be sources of supply, support and aid,” said Debra Wood, a family resource management agent with the Central Kansas Extension District, and one of the report’s authors. “And Kansas has many support services that aid those who are coping with unemployment or a loss of income.”
Wood notes that many Kansas communities have local resources available, including church-sponsored counseling and emergency funds, shelters and food banks. There are also numerous state agencies that can provide funding or other assistance to help makes ends meet.
“If you have lost a job or are seeking a job, assistance is available from Kansas Works,” said Renae Riedy, a family resource management wellness agent in Dickinson County, who also helped to write the new report.
“Kansas Works is a network of workforce centers that have programs to assist individuals who have lost a job, been laid off, or are seeking employment,” Riedy said. Kansas Works has trained counselors to help; the information can be found online at www.kansasworks.com.
Wood and Riedy also pointed to the Kansas Department of Labor’s website for those who want to apply for unemployment insurance; and to Benefits.gov, a federal government site that lists benefits for those who are unemployed.
In their new publication, the two K-State Research and Extension agents have compiled a list of free services that include assistance for children and families, groceries, home energy, medical bills and more.
For Kansas farm families, there are numerous groups who can help, including the Kansas Agricultural Mediation Services, Kansas Ag Stress, AgManager.info, and the National Farmworker Jobs Program.
Wood also encourages families to sit down and determine their available resources.
“Uncertainty about your obligations or your resources may increase stress and reduce your ability to make effective decisions,” she said. “Take time to study your financial and family resources. Once you know this information, you can develop a plan to make the most of those resources.”
Riedy added that non-financial resources – those used to cut costs, trade for needed goods or produce income – also can be helpful. “With creativity and thoughtfulness, it is likely that each family member can contribute in some manner,” she said. “Perhaps a teenager can do odd jobs outside the home, or maybe a skill or hobby could be used to produce income.”
“When your income drops, be imaginative in assessing your resources and how they can best be used. It will take time and patience, so don’t be discouraged.”
When Your Income Drops: Community and Family Resources and other publications are available through the K-State Research and Extension bookstore.