Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA)
KERA PROGRAM CLOSED
A year and a half after Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) launched, the program has closed. More than $290 million provided relief for more than 82,000 Kansans and more than 11,000 housing and service providers, preventing evictions and providing vital services to more than 32,000 households.
The KERA program is now closed. The KERA application portal is now closed and is no longer accessible to applicants.
Unfortunately, there was not sufficient funding to accommodate all applications. Any further communications with applicants will be sent via email.
We realize that the closing of the KERA program may bring stress and uncertainty, as well as more questions for applicants. For a list of additional housing resources and answers to further questions, please refer to our KERA closure FAQs.
Home has never been more important. Our homes have always provided shelter, but in the midst of the COVID pandemic, home has also become our virtual classroom, workplace, marketplace, and gathering space.
While moratoriums have provided tenants with protection from eviction and temporary assistance has helped some tenants cover rent payments, the bills continue to accrue each month, leaving families unsure how they will pay arrears, and leaving landlords without income.
HOME MEANS MORE
KERA serves Kansans, including those residing in the city of Wichita, who have had difficulty paying or collecting rent, utility, or internet payments during the COVID pandemic.
The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program is funded through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Governor Kelly designated Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) to serve as the administrator of the majority of these funds through the KERA program.
The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program provides rent and utility assistance to households that have experienced financial hardships during the COVID pandemic. Landlords and tenants apply via a joint online process. If the application is approved, the landlord or service provider receives funds directly from KERA and applies KERA funds to the applicant’s account. Approved applicants are eligible for up to 18 months of assistance.
KERA METRICS TO DATE
Total Applications Submitted
Applications In Process
KERA Metrics by County
View KERA statistics for each of the 105 Kansas counties.
Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:
- Tenant rents their home.
- Tenant’s 2020 or 2021 household income did not exceed 80 percent of their area’s median income.
- At least one member of the tenant household has experienced financial hardship during the COVID pandemic. Hardship may include loss of employment, reduction in household income, or significant expenses (medical bills, personal protective equipment, child care costs, equipment or internet costs to enable online work/schooling, etc.).
- At least one member of the tenant household is uncertain where they will stay or may become homeless without housing assistance.
- Applicant can provide valid proof of identification.
Applicants must not have received assistance from other sources for the same costs and time period for which they are requesting KERA assistance.
- Landlord and tenant jointly complete separate online certification.
- Landlord and tenant are notified when application is processed.
- If approved, landlord and/or service provider(s) receive funds directly from KHRC.
- Landlord and/or service providers(s) applies assistance to tenant account.
What does assistance cover?
- Up to 18 months of current and past due household rent.
- Up to three months of prospective household rent at a time, even if the household does not have rental arrears.
- Past due residential utility or home energy expenses for tenants (electric, gas, water, sewer, and trash services), even if the household does not have rental arrears.
- Past due or prospective internet expenses for tenants, paid in one lump sum of $900, provided the tenant household is also eligible to receive assistance for past-due rental or utility bills.
- Additional fees associated with past-due rent or utility bills may be covered, including: reasonable late fees, rental security deposits, application or screening fees, pet fees, utility fees, parking fees, garage fees, and/or legal fees.
Note: All expenses must have been billed or charged April 1, 2020 or later
Is your household in need of additional housing, rental, utility, or other assistance?
Find a provider serving your county to learn about available resources.
Documents | Forms | Resources
This project is being supported, in whole or in part, by federal award number ERA0032 awarded to Kansas Housing Resources Corporation by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
I’m a single mom and a social worker. My kids and I have lived in our Topeka apartment for several years, and we absolutely love our home. It’s not just the apartment itself we love, it’s also the neighbors and community that have come to feel more like family.
Due to hardships both personal and COVID-related, I recently lost my job. All of a sudden, one of my biggest fears was staring me in the face. I was about to lose the stability and security my kids depend on to thrive. I felt like a failure with no family or safety net to fall back on.
I’ve dedicated my life to working in the human services field and helping those in need daily. But I had become one of those in need. After fretting and obsessing for weeks, my amazing landlord called me with information about this program that could help with rent. No way will I qualify, no way will they be able to cover all that I need, this just sounds too good to be true, I thought to myself as I hopelessly completed the application.
A few days later, I got a call from the KERA customer service team. Ashamed and embarrassed, I answered the call and began explaining my situation. To my surprise, the woman on the other end of the line was not judgmental or cold at all. In fact, she was the complete opposite! She had this warmth and kindness in her voice that I will never forget. She told me it would be okay and that she would do her best to get me approved.
For the first time in almost a month, I sat down…and took a breath. I wanted to reach through the phone and hug this woman! I wasn’t just some case number on a form, I was a human being. Just then the shame I felt started to melt away. But more importantly, the fear started to melt away. For the first time, I felt hopeful. A few months later, KERA fully paid my past-due rent.
Of course, the panic started to set in again when I still hadn’t found employment and thought KERA had covered my final month of rent at that point. What am I going to do now? I’m so close, yet so far away. I still lead a busy volunteer schedule, coaching Sunflower Soccer and flag football, serving as PTA treasurer and room parent at the elementary school, and running the district’s fall fundraiser. I kept getting up, day after day, helping those I could, while panicking on the inside about how I was going to help myself.
When I received an email about reapplying for an additional three months of KERA assistance, I felt a hope I couldn’t put into words.
Suddenly, I had a vision of my family succeeding again. The KERA program gave my kids their home back. it gave this exhausted, ashamed, feeling-like-a-failure, mom her life back. You gave us a chance to get back on our feet. This is how a community thrives — not by kicking each other when we’re down, but supporting those is need and believing in them when they forget how to believe in themselves.
God bless you KERA staff! You all are angels!
Allyson, Jaydyn, Jenna, Brielle and Kalem
Editor’s Note: Once an applicant’s KERA dashboard status reads “Payment Sent,” the household is eligible to recertify for an additional three months of prospective rental assistance at a time, for a total of 15 months. Applicants will receive email reminders to reapply after payments are sent with the these instructions to complete the process.
As we wrap up the holidays and tie a bow on 2021, we at KHRC celebrate the nearly $80 million in KERA funds that provided the gift of home to 33,951 residents of 13,000 Kansas households this year.
Eligible KERA applicants that became homeless after applying have also found temporary and permanent housing solutions through KHRC’s Bridge to Housing Stability (BHS) initiative. BHS organizations across the state have been given $7.3 million in KERA funds to provide hotel and motel vouchers, case management, and rapid rehousing solutions to these households. Thanks to BHS, one family was able to receive the gift of home right before Christmas.
When her 18-year-old daughter was diagnosed with COVID and later contracted a muscle disease that racked up outrageous hospital bills, a single mother in the Manhattan area applied for Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) funding to help with rent. While awaiting KERA funding, the family found temporary housing through a social service agency to cope with the financial hardship.
On December 14, 2021, the family ran out of funds to continue living at their extended-stay hotel. After looking into the status of their KERA application, the family discovered their application had been closed due to login issues and an address change.
That day, the family’s social service agency reached out to a case manager at The Manhattan Housing Authority (MHA), one of KERA’s Bridge to Housing Stability partners, for further assistance. MHA contacted the KERA team to help the family finish their KERA application, and noted the family was experiencing homelessness. The KERA team then reopened the application, corrected it, and submitted it for review. By the end of the day, MHA was able to use to use BHS funds to secure the family in a new two-bedroom home with all bills paid until KERA funds became available.
This story represents just one family that’s been helped this year. We can’t wait to help thousands more in 2022! KHRC wishes you a happy new year!
The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program has now provided more than $66.7 million to help 11,441 Kanas households avoid eviction and keep their utilities on as we approach the holiday season. The massive disbursement has been aided in part by the US Treasury’s recently loosened guidelines. Applicants can now self-attest to their 2020 household income, COVID hardship, and housing instability if documentation isn’t readily available. This change has increased efficiency in application processing, allowing larger bulk payments to be made to households quicker.
KERA serves households with the highest needs first, in accordance with federal prioritization guidelines. In cases where tenants face imminent eviction from their homes, the KERA team has been able to prioritize emergency funding, halting more than 350 active evictions.
Nyrica Hall of Topeka is one applicant spared from homelessness through KERA. After a string of layoffs during the pandemic, Hall had racked up a massive credit card debt, leaving her without means to continue paying rent. Hall’s landlord explained they needed to jointly apply for KERA. While awaiting funding, Hall received a 3-Day Notice to Quit, and panicked without additional funds or family in the area to help her out.
Hall called KERA customer service line to report her 3-day notice, and explained that her internet bill had become past-due in the meantime. She got a call back later that day from the customer service manager. “I literally cried when he called me to say my funding had been approved and told me a $600 credit would be applied to my internet provider,” Hall said. Because of her prioritization score, Hall’s funding was scheduled for an emergency payment that day, and she was able to stay in her apartment.
“KERA definitely helped me move forward in my life in a positive way,” said Hall. With stable housing and a reliable internet connection, Hall was able to find a new job. When new expenses arose, such as a broken-down car, she was able to afford to get it fixed and keep driving to work.
Hall continues to spread the word to others in need of assistance. She wants those in need to know that “The KERA program is a resource designed to keep households from becoming homeless. It’s helping people find a way out of the pandemic and one of the worst financial hardships we’ve experienced in years.”
Federal guidelines require KERA applications to be processed in order of need, through a prioritization scoring system. This means applications with the highest need are processed first, based on the following factors:
- Level of income (lower the income tier, higher the priority)
- Income to amount requested ratio
- Days unemployed
- Number of household members unemployed
- Number of months delinquent
- Eviction status
- Disconnection of utilities status
- Date application was submitted
If applicants receive a court summons or eviction notice while awaiting funding, we encourage them to upload this documentation and send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
KERA in the News
Essential Needs: Applications now open for the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program providing emergency rental, utility, and internet assistance. – Kansas Office of Recovery – Apr. 2, 2021
Essential Needs: Applications now open for the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program providing emergency rental, utility, and internet assistance. – Kansas Office of Recovery – Mar. 19, 2021