GREG LOWER

Chanute landlords are awaiting information on a $200 million rental assistance program announced Tuesday by the governor’s office.

The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance program follow the $20 million Kansas Eviction Prevention Program. The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation will begin taking applications online March 15 at kshousingcorp.org/emergency-rental-assistance.

Chanute Housing Authority Director Terri Orozco said the new program will be a blessing for some people if they know about it.

Some landlords said they have not had issues with tenants falling behind on their rent and Orozco said her accounts receivable is as low as it has ever been. The CHA has 139 properties, but Orozco did not say how many vacancies there were.

People struggling to cover rent and utility payments because of the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for up to 12 months of emergency assistance thanks to new federal relief. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 funded the KERA initiative.

Tenants may qualify for assistance if they earn no more than 80 percent of their area’s median income, are experiencing documented financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, and may be at risk of housing instability or homelessness without assistance.

The KEPP program received 10,138 applications for more than $25 million in requested assistance in 60 days that the program was in statewide operation.

Tim Egner of D&T Properties said a few of his tenants set up in mid-December for last year’s program with him and he was happy with it.

“It’s good to know,” Egner said.

Property owner Tracy Walker said the program will be a benefit for those who have not been able to get jobs, although her tenants have not had issues. She said this area does not seem to have lost as many jobs as the cities.

Linda Church, property manager of Safari West Apartments, said there are a handful of people who have been affected by the pandemic and also a handful who are not making rent payments.

Doug Oehlert with Pecan Creek properties said he did not participate in the previous program, but thinks this is a good program. He said he has not had a lot of tenants miss payments, although he expects it the longer the situation continues.

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