Topeka, Kan. — Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) funding remains available to support Kansans at risk of eviction. KERA provides rent, utility, and internet assistance to households that have experienced a financial hardship during the pandemic.
“More than a third of Kansans rent their homes, and many have struggled to cover rent and utility bills since the pandemic began,” said Ryan Vincent, Executive Director of Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), which administers the KERA program. “The financial repercussions are far from over for our most vulnerable families. This crucial assistance is still available to keep Kansans safely housed throughout our economic recovery.”
The KERA program has disbursed more than $125 million in rental, utility, and internet assistance to 17,633 eligible tenant households in Kansas. These funds have prevented 45,674 Kansans from experiencing evictions and utility disconnections and helped make 6,656 landlords whole.
One frontline worker described how KERA assistance kept her in stable housing during the pandemic. While on short-term work leave, she was unable to return to her health care job after twice contracting the virus. “I am beyond grateful for the rental and utility assistance provided by KERA while I recovered so I could get back to work,” she said.
The KERA program supports Kansas tenants and landlords experiencing financial hardship. Recent updates have made the program more inclusive, allowing the state to serve even more Kansans:
- Households that have experienced financial hardship at any time during the pandemic may now qualify for assistance.
- Eligible households may receive up to 18 months of assistance, an increase from the previous 15-month maximum.
- Eligible households may receive a lump sum of $900 in past-due or future internet assistance, an increase from the previous $750 limit.
Previous applicants who have not hit the 18-month maximum are eligible to recertify for additional months of assistance.
A Topeka property manager witnessed how KERA funding has helped both the complex and her tenants thrive in hard times. “Since emergency rental assistance has been available, we have provided KERA documents and Shawnee County income guidelines to any tenant that receives an eviction notice,” she said. “I tell tenants, ‘It’s always worth a shot to apply.’”
Tenants and landlords can apply jointly online via the KERA application portal. Tenants must answer pre-screening questions to determine their eligibility before accessing the application. KERA applicants must meet income guidelines and must provide:
- Proof of identification;
- A signed lease or equivalent documentation;
- Documentation or self-attestation of housing instability;
- Documentation or self-attestation of financial hardship; and
- Proof or self-attestation of household income.
Once an application has been submitted, households can track their application status and respond to communications by logging into their KERA dashboard. If applicants have additional questions, they can contact KERA customer service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 785-217-2001, Option 1 for English; or Option 2 for Spanish.
KHRC launched the KERA program in March 2021 with funding provided by the Coronavirus Supplemental Relief Act of 2021. Continuing funding is provided through the American Rescue Plan Act. The measures have provided a combined $23.4 billion in emergency rental assistance to rental households nationwide, with nearly two-thirds of those funds serving extremely low-income households.
For more information and to apply, visit kshousingcorp.org/emergency-rental-assistance.