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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.

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June is National Homeownership Month, and we’re pleased to join with Governor Laura Kelly in making the distinction official in Kansas. Homeownership strengthens families, stabilizes neighborhoods, builds communities, and fosters economic growth and prosperity.

KHRC’s First Time Homebuyer Program provides down payment and closing cost assistance for Kansans purchasing their first home. Homebuyers partner with our participating lenders to navigate the process. The program allows homebuyers to apply for a 0% interest loan for 15 or 20 % of the home’s purchase price. The loan is forgiven if the buyer remains in the home for 10 years.

To be eligible, applicants must be first time homebuyers or not have owned a home for three years and earn an income at or below 80% of their area’s median income. Homebuyers must make an investment of 2% but no more than 10% of the sale price from their own funds. The program operates in communities across the state, with the exception of Topeka, Lawrence, Wichita, Kansas City, and Johnson County.

We reached out to our longtime lending partners at First Bank Kansas to get their perspective on the process and the impact of the program.

“It truly is helping people start the dream of owning their home,” said Melinda Foster, a Salina Loan Officer.

KHRC provides training to get lenders up to speed on the program regulations and processes. “The lending process is very similar for all first-time purchasers,” Foster said. “Lots of things are happening at the same time, which allows us to still close within standard turnaround times.”

“There is a lot of information needed and forms signed by the borrower and seller, so the process has to be coordinated to get everything done in a timely manner,” said David Walters, Vice President and Branch Manager of First Bank Kansas in Abilene. “This program does have more requirements than most first time home purchases, but the borrower gets the benefit of generous 15-20% down payment in the form of a grant.”

First Bank officials stress that without assistance, many Kansans may not have the resources they need to purchase their first home. “Most first time buyers struggle to come up with enough cash for a minimum down payment, along with closing costs,” said Walters. “It helps put them in a better financial position, as their house payment is lower with this down payment assistance.”

Foster agrees. “Most homebuyers do not have large resources to put a lot of money down,” she said. “This grant helps them in so many ways.”

Beyond the homeowner benefits, Foster and Walters note that the program offers rewards for lenders as well. “It’s a tool for us to help qualify customers for a home loan,” Walters said of the program. “And also helps the customer buy that home in a financially smart way.”

Homebuyers hoping to take advantage of the program should do their research and start the process early.

“Talk to a home loan lender very early in the process,” said Walters. “They can provide borrowers with all the information needed to qualify them for a home loan, including minimum credit score, income requirements, minimum and maximum debt-to-income ratios, or down payment requirements.  All this ‘up-front’ information will help them qualify the borrower for the program and let them know the loan amount and monthly house payment amount they’ll qualify for.”

“Every purchase is a success story,” Foster said. “It is so rewarding working with these homebuyers.”

Ready to purchase your first home? Contact a participating lender to start the process.

Interested in working with KHRC as a participating lender? Contact our team.

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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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“In June of 2020, while Community Action was still operating the pop-up Community Care Station in response to COVID, we met ‘Sally’ and her two children when they used the drive-up windows.  They were escaping a domestic violence situation and looking for a means to pay their first few months of rent.  While they were at the Care Station, we started an application for rent assistance and also provided her and the children with several days of free food from our emergency food pantry.

Sally’s household was eligible for two months’ rent assistance through United Way funding our agency had leveraged.  Staff involved in the transaction were paid for through a combination of CSBG and local government grants.  Sally sent her Community Action Partner (our staff member) this email:  ‘Thank you so much for your help. This has helped me and my children stay safe and stable. Keeping us going without falling back into our abused past we overcame. Thank you Wendy!’

Nine months later, Sally’s Community Action Partner followed up with to see how the family was doing.  We were shocked to learn that in February, 2021, the children and children’s father were in a car accident, and, unfortunately, the children’s father passed away from his injuries. Sally’s children survived with broken arms. The children are going to trauma counseling as well as physical therapy for their injuries. Sally said she’d found herself constantly in and out of doctor offices and therapist visits, and her employer recently let her go because she was missing too much work. Our staff member, Wendy, reported that Sally was really pleased Community Action reached out to her.  Sally exclaimed, ‘How did you know I needed you guys again?!’  Sally said she was too shy to call Community Action since she had already received assistance at the Care Station.  Our Community Action Partner told her, ‘Not to worry! That’s why we are here and never feel bad about asking for help when it’s needed.’

Sally begins a new job with the Kansas Department of Labor this week.  Meanwhile, Community Services Block Grant funds helped Sally avoid utility shut-offs by getting her up to date with her Kansas Gas Services and Evergy electricity bills.”

Young women smiling and talking outside house

Eight nonprofit community organizations across the state received a combined $133,968 to help low-income Kansans achieve stability and access economic opportunities. The awards, provided through federal Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) discretionary funding, will support initiatives ranging from contactless grocery delivery in a food desert in Leavenworth County, to professional development services for survivors of domestic violence in Sedgwick County, to housing and employment resources for rural youth aging out of foster care.

“The CSBG program aims to reduce poverty, revitalize low-income communities, and empower low-income families and individuals to become fully self-sufficient,” said Marilyn Stanley, KHRC’s CSBG Program Manager. “We’re so pleased to work with our community partners to provide these vital resources to Kansans in need.”

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the CSBG program supports local service partners that provide resources and assistance to low-income community members. Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) serves as the state’s CSBG program administrator. CSBG grant awards fund a range of community services, including job training, financial management education, childcare services, housing and food assistance programs, and more.

Service partners apply for annual and discretionary funding through competitive application processes. 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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The recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan includes $5 billion allocated through the Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) formula to help communities create housing and services for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness. Eligible activities will include rental assistance, supportive services, development of affordable housing, and acquisition or development of non-congregate shelter units.

The State of Kansas expects to receive almost $40 million to spend on eligible activities statewide. KHRC will receive over $22 million to allocate across the state, and Lawrence, Wichita, Topeka, Kansas City, and Johnson County will receive lesser amounts to use in those jurisdictions.

Funds must be expended by September 2030. HUD is currently in the rulemaking process, and we anticipate that it will be several months before we have details and guidance on how the funds can be used.

KHRC hopes to be able to provide more information and guidance later this year.

See HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge’s funding announcement to learn more.

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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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State officials are seeking feedback from Kansans to help guide future housing development efforts. The initiative, part of the state’s first comprehensive housing needs assessment in nearly 30 years, aims to review current housing opportunities, identify strategic goals, and develop recommendations to guide future housing development.

“We’ve long known that the state’s shortage of comprehensive housing data limits our ability to provide affordable homes for Kansans,” said Ryan Vincent, Executive Director of Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. “The feedback gathered through this study will be a crucial first step in identifying current needs and resources so we can ensure that every Kansas community has the housing needed to grow and thrive.”

The study’s current discovery phase includes a series of public listening sessions and a statewide survey to gauge community and stakeholder input. Consultants will use feedback gathered throughout the discovery process to assess opportunities and set strategic housing goals. The project’s final phase involves developing a statewide housing plan and recommendations, with delivery anticipated by December 2021.

Community members are encouraged to share their input three ways:

  1. Complete the Kansas Statewide Housing Needs Assessment online survey, available in English and Spanish.
  2. Participate in their region’s public listening session. Sessions will be held in person and virtually.
  3. Visit the Kansas Statewide Housing Needs Assessment webpage to learn more and spread the word.

Governor Laura Kelly, noting the state’s shortage of quality, affordable housing and need for comprehensive data, announced the study’s launch in December. The state’s Office of Rural Prosperity and Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), the state’s housing finance agency, manage the project. RDG Planning & Design, a consulting group with extensive housing experience in Kansas, was chosen to lead the study through a competitive RFP process.

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Governor Laura Kelly and former Lieutenant Governor Lynn Rogers created the Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP), a nonpartisan initiative established in part to ensure that rural Kansas is heard and represented in the statehouse. The ORP aims to streamline rural policy while focusing on the issues that matter to rural Kansans. During the ORP’s 2019 and 2020 statewide listening and action tours, housing was brought up by leaders in every region of the state as a vital component of recruiting and retaining workers, families, and entrepreneurs to help rural Kansas thrive.

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 – 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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