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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.

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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.

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Mulvane landlord, Zach Storm.

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

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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.

 

 

 

 

KERA Applicants Gary and Sheryl Evert

As of today, the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program has assisted nearly 7,800 Kansas households that have struggled financially due to the COVID pandemic by granting more than $41.5 million in rental, utilities, and internet assistance to eligible Kansas households. Every applicant who has received assistance through the KERA program has a unique story to share. One of those applicants is Gary Evert of Olathe.

KERA Applicants Gary and Sheryl Evert
KERA recipients Gary and Sheryl Evert relax at home.

“My wife Sheryl and I are in our 70s, and before we received our KERA funding, life was really stressful. We didn’t know when we would be able to pay our landlord, but he remained patient, ” said Evert.

“The best part about this program,” Evert said, “was the KERA program associate we spoke with. She was so sweet and kind. She was able to point out a few little details I needed to address on the application, and she was always there to answer every single question I had. ‘Take a breath,’ she said, ‘because it’s going to take several breaths before your application is processed.’ We’re all nervous, but when someone can calm you down and give you a sense of hope, it’s very comforting.”

Though we encourage applicants to call KERA customer service at 785-217-2001, Option 1, with questions or concerns, we also encourage you to periodically take a breath as you check your application dashboard to view the status of your application. Eligible households can expect KERA applications to move through some of the following status changes over a period of weeks. Here are some explanations of the various status changes that can help you breathe a little easier:

  1. Incomplete/Requires Applicant Response: Your application has either not been submitted, or we have found some missing items that need to be added. Those items will be listed under the “messages” tab in your application dashboard
  2.  Pending Initial Review: The KERA Processing team is reviewing the application to make sure all documents we need are uploaded and all necessary fields are accurately filled out to qualify for approval.
  3. Pending Property Manager Acceptance: Your application has passed initial review, and we are waiting to receive documents from the property manager or servicer.
  4. Utility Review: Your request for rental assistance has been verified, and we are verifying requested utility amounts with the utility and/or internet providers.
  5. Final Review: The application has been verified for rental and/or utilities assistance and is being checked one last time before being submitted for funding.
  6. Submitted for Funding: The application has passed final review and has been put into the queue for KERA to make the final decision on whether the applicant will receive funding. Once applications reach this status, landlords, property managers, and service providers of eligible households can expect to receive payments within a week and a half
  7. Funding Approved: KERA has approved the application and is in the process of sending out funds.
  8. Payment Sent: KERA has approved the application and has sent the funding to the landlords, property managers, and service providers. At this stage, applicants can reapply for three prospective months of rental assistance at a time. Instructions for reapplying can be found here: https://conta.cc/3isig4F

If applicants still have questions after checking their status, or need immediate assistance with utility disconnections, restoring utility services, or addressing eviction notices while awaiting funds, they are encouraged to call KERA customer service at: 785-217-2001, Option 1, or to send an email to kera@kshousingcorp.org.

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Forthcoming program to assist Kansas homeowners experiencing financial hardship 

State officials are seeking public feedback to inform a new housing initiative that will support Kansas homeowners in need. The forthcoming Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund (KHAF), established by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) through the Kansas Office Recovery and administered by Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), will aim to prevent mortgage delinquencies and defaults, foreclosures, loss of utilities or home energy services, and displacement of homeowners experiencing financial hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In less than a year, we’ve provided almost $50 million in emergency rental assistance to Kansas renters, landlords, and service providers,” said Ryan Vincent, KHRC’s Executive Director. “We’re proud to have helped more than 15,000 Kansas households avoid eviction and remain stably housed during the pandemic, but we know our state’s housing needs don’t stop with tenants. Kansas homeowners: Help is on the way.”

Program administrators and state officials welcome public input as they design a program to meet the needs of Kansas homeowners. Community members are invited to share their input three ways:

  1. Join the public webinar Tuesday, Aug. 31, at 10 a.m. to learn about the proposed plan.
  2. Share your experience and expertise by participating in our surveys targeting specific stakeholder groups:
  3. Subscribe to KHRC’s mailing list and select “Homeowner Assistance” to stay posted on the latest program news and announcements.

Community members are invited to share their input on the initiative. The public comment period will close Sunday, Sept. 12. Program administrators will review the comments received, make any recommended adjustments, and finalize the plan by Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Learn more about the KHAF initiative online.

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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.

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Twelve Kansas communities will add a collected 540 affordable homes to their housing stock, thanks to funds awarded through the state’s competitive housing development application process. The awards, totaling $6,806,417, will help finance the construction of 324 new homes and the rehabilitation of 216 existing homes for Kansas seniors and families.

“Our state has long experienced a shortage of quality, affordable housing—a reality that has only been exacerbated by the COVID pandemic,” said Ryan Vincent, Kansas Housing’s Executive Director. “Each of these 540 homes brings us a step closer to ensuring that all Kansans have access to the safe, affordable housing they need and the dignity they deserve.”

The funding, made available through the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, the federal HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME), and the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), provides incentives to developers, nonprofit organizations, and communities that commit to developing quality, affordable housing. Kansas Housing administers the state’s housing development programs and oversees the competitive application process.

This funding round was the first awarded using the state’s newly revamped Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP), the governing document outlining how development incentives and housing resources are awarded. The revised QAP prioritizes developments that expand housing opportunities in rural areas, provide homes for special needs populations, and address a documented housing shortage, among other factors.

Complete award details are available online.

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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.

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Statewide program granting Kansas tenants, landlords $3 million per week

TOPEKA, Kan.— Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), the state’s housing finance agency, has provided $21,670,326.79 in emergency rental and utility assistance to 4,054 Kansas households experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID pandemic. The funds, made available through the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program, were allocated to the state through the federal Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) previously issued a temporary nationwide halt in residential evictions to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. That moratorium is set to expire on July 31, 2021. Kansans who may be facing eviction due to financial hardship incurred as a result of the COVID pandemic are encouraged to apply for KERA assistance.

“It’s so gratifying to know our team is getting these funds out the door and into our communities where they are so desperately needed,” said Ryan Vincent, KHRC’s Executive Director. “We recognize that the need is vast, and we look forward to providing this crucial assistance to Kansas tenants, landlords, and service providers as the program continues.”

KERA funds helped Gary Evert and his wife Sheryl, a couple in their 70s, remain in their Olathe home. “To anyone else out there who has applied for KERA I would say, ‘Don’t get discouraged. We’re all nervous, but when a customer service representative can calm you down and give you a sense of hope, it’s quite comforting,’” Evert said.

The KERA program previously served Kansans across the state except Wichita residents, who were served by the city’s rental assistance program. Recognizing the importance of serving tenants and landlords in our state’s most populous city, Wichita residents are now eligible to apply for the KERA program, though duplication of benefits is prohibited.

To be eligible to receive KERA assistance, tenants must rent their homes and must have experienced a documented financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of hardship may include qualifying for unemployment benefits, experiencing a reduction of household income, or incurring significant costs due to the pandemic. Additionally, the tenant’s household’s income may not exceed 80 percent of the area median income.

Nyrica Hall of Topeka was facing eviction when she applied for KERA assistance. Her request resulted in funding for rental and utility assistance, as well as a $600 lump sum payment to cover internet service. “When the customer service manager called me back to say my application had been approved, I cried,” Hall said.

KERA applicants must provide the following documentation:

  • Past due utility bill or overdue rent or eviction notice from April 2020 to the present
  • Signed lease identifying the residential unit and the rental payment amount
  • 2020 Federal Income Tax Return as filed with the IRS (if tenant hasn’t filed 2020 federal income taxes, their W-2 wage statement and all IRS 1099 forms are acceptable)
  • Proof of identification, including a current state-issued photo ID, court filing notice, or mail from a federal, state, county, or city agency displaying the rental unit address

Approved KERA applicants are eligible to receive a maximum of twelve months of rental and utility assistance, in addition to reasonable fees and security deposits. Qualified applicants are also eligible to receive a lump sum of $600 in credit to their internet providers to cover past-due or future internet costs, at a rate of $50 per month for 12 months. Tenants may apply for three months of prospective assistance at a time. Program guidelines require tenants and landlords to apply jointly, with payments made directly to the landlord or service provider.

The KERA program builds on KHRC’s success administering the Kansas Eviction Prevention Program, a statewide rental assistance initiative funded by the federal CARES Act in 2020. In the roughly 60 days that program was in statewide operation, KHRC processed 10,138 applications for more than $25.8 million in requested funding, ultimately serving 27,200 Kansans with $17,007,614 in rental assistance.

To learn more, to locate a community partner to assist with the application process, and to apply, visit kshousingcorp.org/emergency-rental-assistance.

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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.

KHRC in the News

Pittsburg City Commission meeting recap – June 22, 2021 – City of Pittsburg – June 24, 2021

Epworth Towers in Hays completes $6.9M renovation – Hays Post – June 18, 2021

Group housing facility Transitions opens in full capacity, completing first piece of behavioral health campus – Lawrence Journal-World – June 12, 2021

Meet MAP — Mobile Access Partnership — in Topeka – The Topeka Capital-Journal – May 28, 2021

City leaders approve an increase in fines for dogs at large (Atchison City Commission) – Atchison Globe – May 18, 2021

First-time homebuyers in Kansas could soon get help saving money – KSNT – May 18, 2021

Homeowner Assistance Fund Part of American Rescue Plan – Update – EIN Presswire – May 13, 2021

Pittsburg City Commission meeting recap – City of Pittsburg – May 11, 2021

SEK-CAP to stop accepting TBRA applicants – The Morning Sun – May 7, 2021

Today’s Mortgage Rates in Kansas – MoneyWise – May 4, 2020

HOI, officials break ground on Quail Cove development – Great Bend Tribune – Apr. 29, 2021

City Commission faces full slate during Wednesday action session – The Emporia Gazette – Mar. 2, 2021

Community Impact: Eviction Prevention – Kansas Office of Recovery –  Feb. 19, 2021

Kansas to provide $200 million to help pay rents for those in need – Liberal Leader & Times – Feb. 19, 2021

Housing leaders in Wichita and Kansas announce $200 million in rental assistance – KSN News – Feb. 16, 2021

Kansas bolsters COVID-19 rental-assistance program – KSHB 41-Kansas City – Feb. 16, 2021

Governor Kelly Announces $200 Million In Statewide Rental Assistance – Kansas Office of the Governor – Feb. 16, 2021

Pandemic assistance: Governor announces $200M for renters – Salina Post – Feb. 16, 2021

$200 Million In Statewide Rental Assistance Becomes Available – KSCB News – Feb. 16, 2021

New emergency rental assistance program coming in March – KAKE-TV – Feb. 11, 2021

Wichita prepares to launch rental assistance program – KWCH 12 – Feb. 4, 2021

Cornerstone of Topeka unveils new affordable housing options in central Topeka – Topeka Capital-Journal – Jan. 29, 2021

Cornerstone of Topeka, Inc. to host ribbon-cutting on new affordable housing development – WIBW – Jan. 28, 2021

Office of Rural Prosperity 2020 Annual Report – Jan. 28, 2021

Kansas Gas Service, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation partner on weatherization effort – KVOE.com – Jan. 27, 2021

Quality, affordable housing in high demand as communities undergo statewide housing assessment – KSN.com – Jan. 20, 2021

Time running out to apply for rental assistance in Kansas – KSNT – Dec. 11, 2020

Kansas rent help deadline is less than a week away – WIBW – Dec. 11, 2020

Andrea J. Boyack: Mind housing cost gap between tenant, landlord – The Topeka Capital-Journal – Dec. 10, 2020

Deadline approaching for statewide rental assistance program – KAKE-Wichita – Dec. 7, 2020

Kansas Government News – Kansas Government Journal – Dec. 2020

How a local landlord, tenant are navigating the pandemic – The Topeka Capital-Journal – Nov. 26, 2020

Kansans facing financial hardships can apply for up to $5,000 in rental assistance – KSN News – Nov. 17, 2020

Rental assistance still available – The Hutchinson News – Nov. 5, 2020

Funds still available for KEPP – 13-WIBW – Nov. 3, 2020

Rental crisis still looms – The Hutchinson News – Nov. 1, 2020

Need help catching up on rent? This program can help! – 13-WIBW – Oct. 30, 2020

State announces Kansas Eviction Prevention Program to help tenants pay rent – The Topeka Capital-Journal – Oct. 29, 2020

Letter to the editor: Moratoriums may cause crisis – The Topeka Capital-Journal – Oct. 29, 2020

Coffee Chat – AARP KS – Oct. 28, 2020

The 5 Q’s: Tiffany Romine of SEK-CAP discusses rental assistance program for those affected by COVID-19 – The Joplin Globe – Oct. 25, 2020

Landlords, tenants eligible for rent payment assistance – Liberal Leader & Times -Oct. 22, 2020

SEK-CAP ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR KANSAS EVICTION PREVENTION PROGRAM – Fort Scott Biz – Oct. 22, 2020

Governor Laura Kelly Announces $35 million in Rental Assistance to Keep Kansans in Their Homes, Businesses – KSCB – Oct. 22, 2020

State To Aid In Rent Payments – WIBW News – Oct. 22, 2020

Gov. Laura Kelly seeks bipartisan House, Senate talks on new mask mandate – Shawnee Mission Post -Oct. 22, 2020

Local and state-issued CARES funding aims to help curb eviction problem – Pittsburg Morning Sun – Oct. 22, 2020

KHRC creates new eviction prevention program – WIBW-13 – Oct. 21, 2020

Kansas creates rental aid program to help reduce evictions, pay landlords – The Wichita Eagle – Oct. 21, 2020

Program designed to reduce evictions will pay rent back to April 2020 – KSNT.com -Oct. 21, 2020

New program gives up to $5,000 in rental assistance to eligible Kansas tenants – KSHB 41 – Kansas City – Oct. 21, 2020

State of Kansas announces $35 million in rental assistance – KWCH 12 – Oct. 21, 2020

STATE RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM TO BE OFFERED IN WICHITA – 101.3 FM KFDI – Oct. 20, 2020

COVID-19 funds available to help those who may be evicted in KC area – Wyandotte Daily – Oct. 20, 2020

APPLY NOW: New Eviction Prevention Program Assists Tenants, Landlords Impacted by COVID – Kansas Bar Association – Oct. 20, 2020

New program announced for those struggling with rent due to COVID-19 impacts – The Hutchinson News – Oct. 19, 2020

19 New COVID Cases, 1 New Death – KSAL.com – Oct. 16, 2020

LANDLORDS AND TENANTS APPLY FOR UP TO $5,000 PER HOUSEHOLD – Fort Scott Biz – Oct. 16, 2020

Saline County: Symptomatic person went to local sale barn; another death – Salina Post – Oct. 16, 2020

19 New COVID Cases, 1 New Death – KSAL.com – Oct. 16, 2020

Advocates warn of ‘eviction cliff,’ need for better renter protection – Topeka Capital-Journal – Oct. 10, 2020

SafeHope seeking expansion – The Kansan – Sept. 18, 2020

White House moves to halt evictions through December – KAKE News – Sept. 3, 2020

Grant funding, Fanestil bonds among agenda items for Emporia City Commission – KVOE – Sept. 2, 2020

City Commission approves CDGB-CV funding for economic and food – KVOE – Sept. 2, 2020

Unlocking home: Addressing housing needs across Kansas – Kansas Government Journal – Apr. 2020

Audit points to shortcomings of homebuyer aid programs in Kansas – Topeka Capital-Journal – Feb. 2, 2020

State grant funds new homes in Greensburg – Kiowa County Signal – Jan. 22, 2020

It’s Your Business – Topeka Capital-Journal – Jan. 19, 2020

Senior housing growing – Ark Valley – The News – Dec. 19, 2019

Groundbreaking for affordable housing in Valley Center – KAKE News – Dec. 17, 2019

Construction of behavioral health campus set to begin, but price tag for Douglas County may grow – Lawrence Journal-World – Nov. 10, 2019

Eastridge Villas: Senior housing project was a cooperative effort – The Scott County Record – Oct. 24, 2019

Moderate Income Housing Program – Kansas Government Journal – August/September 2019

A New Era – Affordable Housing News – Summer 2019

First Time Homebuyer Program paves way for family move – Ellsworth County Independent – Reporter – June 13, 2019

Rare downtown housing for Kansas City, KS – KSNT – June 10, 2019

Residents Of Kansas City, Kansas, Are Set To Get New Downtown Housing For The First Time In 30 Years – June 8, 2019

The Boulevard Lofts 30 years in the waiting – KCUR 89.3 – June 8, 2019

Weatherization assistance available to low income households – The Hutchinson News – Oct. 22, 2018

Leavenworth housing agency honored – The Leaven – Oct. 12, 2018

Delaware Place apartments dedicated – The Vindicator, Valley Falls – July 19, 2018

Right at home – Salina Journal – June 26, 2018

Developers get green light for Lee lofts – Salina Journal – May 16, 2018 

 

 

 

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Income Guidelines

Household Size Maximum Income for Weatherization (200% of FPL)
1  $   25,760
2  $  34,840
3  $  43,920
4  $   53,000
5  $  62,080
6  $  71,160
7  $  80,240
8  $  89,320
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