Statewide emergency rental assistance program, which distributed almost $20 million in relief in Douglas County, comes to an end

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

The Douglas County Human Services Building, 2518 Ridge Court, is pictured Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022. The office houses the county's human services program manager, Gabi Sprague.

Updated at 4:19 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023

An emergency rental assistance program established to lessen the financial burden on renters impacted by the coronavirus pandemic has officially closed, the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation announced Wednesday.

The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance program launched in March of 2021 using federal COVID-19 relief funds. The KERA program distributed just over $19 million in rent and utility assistance to Douglas County from then to last November before shifting into a “hold phase” and distributing the last of its funding based on a final round of applications.

With all said and done, the KERA program provided more than $290 million in financial relief to more than 82,000 Kansans and more than 11,000 housing and service providers across the state.

The nonprofit Kansas Housing Resources Corporation serves as the state’s housing finance agency and administered the KERA program throughout its run.

As the Journal-World previously reported, the KERA program drawing to a close left Douglas County with just a fraction of rent and utility assistance funds available — now, less than $1 million — to community members in need through the end of this year.

Douglas County’s Housing Stabilization Collaborative, the county’s local rent and utility assistance provider, announced just last week that it’ll be shifting from a first-come, first-served approach to how it distributes such funding to a lottery system, in hopes of increasing equity for applicants. The switch to the lottery system has begun, and folks who want to receive assistance can submit applications until 5 p.m. Monday. Then, qualified applications will be randomly selected on Tuesday.


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