This week, the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program has assisted a record-breaking 971 households, adding to the total 8,218 Kansas households now served by the program. Payments totaling more than $45.2 million have been sent to 190 different utility companies, and have made whole approximately 3,400 property managers and landlords of eligible applicants, keeping them safely and affordably housed.
Recognizing the key role that landlords and property managers play in providing affordable housing to low- and moderate-income renters, Congress designed its emergency rental assistance initiative to support landlords as well as tenants. Zach Storm, a landlord from Mulvane, Kansas, has experienced this benefit firsthand. Storm had several tenants who kept getting further behind on rent. When he heard about KERA on the news, he reached out and encouraged them to apply. “Many of them have children, and this pandemic is something nobody planned on. I’m doing what’s best for both them and me by having them apply,” said Storm.
Storm compassionately communicated to his tenants who were behind on rent that he wasn’t going to evict them, as long as they applied for the KERA program. Like many Kansas landlords, Storm is a small business owner whose livelihood depends on rental income. “I got to the point where rent was my sole income, so it was critical for both me and the tenants to apply for KERA funds,” said Storm. “If a hot water heater or a furnace goes out, I still had to pay for that.”
Some of Storm’s tenants have already been funded, and some have since recertified for three months of future rental assistance. Storm encourages other landlords to talk to their tenants about the KERA program so they can apply. “As long as your tenants are eligible for KERA funds, you’re going to get paid. I’ve already gotten paid for two of my tenants’ rent, and I’m awaiting payment on a third,” he said.
“As long as your tenants are eligible for KERA funds, you’re going to get paid. I’ve already gotten paid for two of my tenants’ rent, and I’m awaiting payment on a third,” he said.
Tenants and landlords can expect eligible KERA applications to be processed in a matter of weeks, thanks to recent changes to Emergency Rental Assistance guidelines from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. KERA applicants can now self-attest to eligibility guidelines including household income, COVID hardship, and housing instability, if documentation is not immediately available. These changes have significantly eased the documentation burden on applicants and have allowed for faster processing and payment.
The KERA team encourages Kansas landlords to continue talking with their tenants who are behind on rent about the KERA program, and to distribute KERA flyers to their tenants and residents. KERA Flyers can be found on the KERA webpage, or downloaded here to be printed or digitally distributed to tenants.
Learn more about the KERA program and apply: https://kshousingcorp.org/emergency-rental-assistance/
Hear more about Zach Storm’s experience via KAKE news: https://www.kake.com/story/44423820/khrc-prepared-expecting-increase-of-rent-assistance-as-eviction-moratorium-may-be-ending
Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) is a self-supporting, nonprofit, public corporation committed to helping Kansans access the safe, affordable housing they need and the dignity they deserve. KHRC serves as the state’s housing finance agency (HFA), administering essential housing and community programs to serve Kansans.