The pandemic has affected us individually in different ways, yet it has also reminded us that we are all connected. The ripple effects of one business closing or one family being evicted are felt throughout a community. Those community ripples are felt across the entire state. But when the opposite happens—when a worker can pay their rent and keep their job, or when a housing provider can afford to stay in business because they are able to recover rental arrears—the positive effects ripple throughout a community as well.
To date, the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance Program has provided $49,612,527 million to 8,846 Kansas households, positively impacting the lives of 21,985 tenants and 3,729 landlords across the state. Beyond the individual impact of keeping nearly 8,850 Kansas families safely housed, that translates to nearly $50 million injected into our local economies to stimulate economic recovery. Landlords—many of them small business owners—can afford to keep running their businesses and pay their property taxes, which fund essential public services including schools. Tenants can get back to work without massive rental debts and evictions on their records, while keeping their families safely housed. For those experiencing homelessness due to the pandemic, KERA funding provides hotel and motel vouchers, housing counseling, and rapid rehousing through KHRC’s new Bridge to Housing Stability initiative.
Each of those nearly 8,850 Kansas families has a story. Nick Baumgartner is just one Kansan who has paid forward the benefits of the rental assistance he’s received from KERA.
Baumgartner’s small business serves the needs of local restaurants in the Topeka area, many of which struggled financially during the pandemic. “I never needed to ask for any kind of financial assistance before,” he said. “But because restaurants were so negatively impacted by the pandemic, my business suffered too.” When the money from his SBA loan ran out in 2020, Baumgartner’s family had to choose between paying rent or utilities, and that’s when his landlord told him to apply for the KERA program.
“I never needed to ask for any kind of financial assistance before,” he said. “But because restaurants were so negatively impacted by the pandemic, my business suffered too.”
“It took me less than 10 minutes to fill out the KERA application, and when I had questions, the customer service team was incredibly helpful and efficient during a stressful time,” Baumgartner said. “After my landlord was paid for past-due rent, I was able to apply for three months of future rental assistance.”
Baumgartner says the KERA program allowed him to keep his small business running, and “allowed us to continue to be there for our clients and our customers without worrying about having to send them to collections.” KERA not only assisted his family, but kept his clients in business, helping local restaurants bounce back again.
Baumgartner has told several people to apply for the KERA program. “They’ve already been funded and are doing well again,” he said.
The ripple effects of Baumgartner’s rental assistance were felt throughout his local community. At KHRC, we’re proud to continue to facilitate these growing ripples across Kansas.
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.