Fall 2022 | Breaking Ground:

On the Homefront with Kansas Housing

The first hint of fall blew through the windows at the Vincent house recently as we canned tomatoes and applesauce. Each time we walked barefoot to the garden, the chilly dew on the grass reminded us that the season is changing.

While I’ve always loved the feel of the grass or dirt under my feet, I learned in a recent article that there’s even a name for the phenomenon: Earthing. Adherents to the practice of Earthing claim walking barefoot outside has natural healing benefits due to the Earth’s slight negative charge. Allegedly the human body absorbs the electrons and equalizes with the Earth. I just thought it felt good and am too lazy to grab my shoes!

The KHRC team experienced our own version of Earthing in August as we hosted our 17th housing conference, our first in-person since 2019. Finally, we were able to connect again with our partners, share our stories, celebrate our successes, and strategize our next steps. I certainly felt the electrons from all the energy in the room! Whether it was meeting an Afghan Ally who had a welcoming home in America after serving our troops overseas thanks to our KERA program or listening to Dr. Desmond’s reminder about the importance of housing stability – I left the Conference refreshed, recharged, and ready to keep up our important work.

Yes, the season is changing and the lovely autumn weather will soon turn to winter. I hope you find time this fall to get your feet dirty as we keep up our journey together Unlocking Home.

- Ryan Vincent, Executive Director

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Breaking Ground, a quarterly newsletter from Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), the state's housing finance agency. We hope you'll follow along to keep up on the latest Kansas housing news! Update your subscription preferences anytime.

State Designates $62 Million for 

Affordable Housing Development

Governor Kelly capped off the legislative session by signing two major bipartisan housing bills into law, representing a significant expansion of resources to support statewide housing development. The measures represent a combined $62 million in new housing resources, as well as initiatives to incentivize housing development.

“We’ve long known that Kansas has a shortage of quality, affordable housing, but the COVID pandemic turned our state’s housing problem into a crisis,” said Ryan Vincent, KHRC’s Executive Director. “Our 2021 statewide housing needs assessment—the first undertaken in nearly 30 years—illustrated the need for more quality, affordable housing in all regions of the state. We are grateful to state leaders, housing partners, and advocates for prioritizing this historic investment to make that housing a reality.”

New resources include expanded Moderate Income Housing funds, as well as a new Kansas Housing Investor Tax Credit, Rural Housing Revolving Loan Program, Kansas Affordable Housing Tax Credit, and Kansas Rural Home Loan Guarantee. 

Read more. 

Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance awards $257 million 

More than 80,000 Kansans and 10,000 housing and service providers have received more than $257 million in rental and utility assistance, preventing thousands of evictions and providing vital services to more than 30,000 families at risk of losing their homes. A year and a half after the temporary initiative launched, the program has nearly exhausted all funds and will close soon.

The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program, established in March 2021 with federal pandemic relief funds, provides up to 18 months of rent and utility assistance for households experiencing financial hardship. Rental assistance is paid directly to housing and service providers, helping landlords cover their operating costs and keep up with essential maintenance and repairs, stimulating the local economy.

The program has now received enough applications to fully expend all available funds and is in Hold Phase, the second of three closure phases. Visit the KERA web page for more information about the closure process. 

Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund provides $23 million

Program accepting applications for mortgage, property tax, and utility assistance

Five months after launch, the Kansas Homeowner Assistance Fund (KHAF) has provided $23,395,509 in mortgage, property tax, and utility aid to 2,207 homeowners. For homeowners still in need of financial assistance, the KHAF program may be able to help.

Funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), KHAF is a temporary relief initiative that helps Kansas homeowners experiencing pandemic-related financial hardship avoid foreclosure and get current on their mortgages and property taxes. The program provides assistance with mortgage payments; property taxes and charges; utility, internet, and broadband fees; and more. 

The Mortgage Bankers Association’s mid-year 2022 figures note that 10,098 Kansas mortgages were past due, with 5,353 of those seriously delinquent. Currently 2,207 KHAF applications have been granted assistance, and additional funding remains to assist homeowners. Kansans who have fallen behind on their mortgage and/or property tax payments are encouraged to apply now

2022 Kansas Housing Conference

Our 17th annual Kansas Housing Conference was an overwhelming success. We had 619 attendees, a record number of sponsors/exhibitors, a strong contingent of our elected officials, and excellent keynotes and breakout speakers.

Save the Date! Our 2023 conference will be held August 22-24 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

Governor Kelly proclaims October Energy Action Month and October 30 Weatherization Day in Kansas

The Weatherization Assistance Program is a statewide, federally funded initiative that reduces utility costs for low-income families by improving a home's energy efficiency and the household's health and safety.

Kansas received $31,974,404 in additional Weatherization funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). These funds will be expended over a five-year period. This is in addition to the annual funding of about $9 million that we receive each year through our annual awards. We anticipate an additional 2,330 homes will receive services over the next five years with these supplemental funds!

Follow Facebook and Twitter all month for Weatherization messages and updates!

Check out our News page for an archive of KHRC News. 

Read KHRC News

Kansas Housing Resources Corporation

611 S Kansas Ave., Suite 300 | Topeka, KS 66603

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