A program that helps provide housing for low-income people and families affected by severe and persistent mental illness is passing a financial milestone.
Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center's tenant-based rental assistance program is getting another $100,000 grant for 2007, enough to help 15 to 20 families secure housing for up to two years.
The grant, from the Kansas Housing Resources Corp., will add to the $988,427 already invested in Douglas County through the program since 1993.
"This is nearly $1 million of federal money that has come into the economic stream because of this program," said Charlotte Knoche, director of housing assistance for the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, which administers the program. "It's for rent subsidies. All the money will be paid directly to private landlords for rent subsidies, security deposits and utility deposits."
The program currently assists 12 individuals and families. Each client normally would be charged an average of $532 a month for rent, but instead pays an average of $75 because the program covers the other $457.
During the past 13 years the program has assisted 234 households, all of whom had one or more members with a diagnosed serious and persistent mental illness, and more than half of whom were homeless.
The housing authority also receives about $200,000 a year from the city of Lawrence to provide rental subsidies for qualifying low-income people, whether or not a tenant has a mental illness.
Landlords or tenants seeking information about the tenant-based rental assistance program, including details about restrictions and how to participate, may contact: ¢ Lynn Amyx, residential services coordinator for the Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, at 843-9192 or click on www.bertnash.org. ¢ Charlotte Knoche, director of housing assistance for the Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, at 832-8110, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or click on www.ldcha.org.