Affordable housing is just around the corner for 50 low-income people with disabilities in Lawrence, thanks to a nationwide $126.8 million program.
The federal program, called Section 8 Mainstream Housing, will add $218,585 to the Lawrence Housing Authority's current $2.5 million budget for similar tenant-based rental assistance.
The additional money will provide 50 vouchers specifically for low-income individuals with disabilities or families of which at least one person must have a disability.
"This is very good news," said Charlotte Knoche, the housing authority's director of rental assistance programs. "This is funding that we knew we needed. Anyone who's interested needs to come in and apply."
The vouchers likely will become available sometime after Jan. 1, she said.
To qualify, applicants must earn no more than 50 percent of the median income of a Lawrence family. A family of four, for example, could earn no more than $24,150 in a single year to qualify.
The housing authority already manages 450 Section 8 rental vouchers, which allow low-income tenants to live in rental properties in the private sector. The public money defrays the cost of rent, so that tenants pay only 30 percent of their total income for lodging.
In all, the initiative announced Saturday will provide housing assistance for an estimated 17,000 people in 42 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam. Johnson County has the only other agency in Kansas to receive money, with $87,066.
-- Mark Fagan's phone message number is 832-7188. His e-mail address is email@example.com.