TOPEKA - In an effort to kick start redevelopment in disaster-affected communities, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC) has announced $8 million in Housing Development Grant Awards. The new state-funded housing initiative, signed into law by Governor Kathleen Sebelius in April, will help 10 communities build housing and infrastructure, such as streets, water and sewer systems.
“Restoring affordable housing is critical to the communities recovering from last year’s disasters,” said Governor Sebelius. “The funding announced today will help make homes available for many working families and improve the overall economic vitality of rural communities across the state.”
The Kansas Legislature approved the housing program as one part of a comprehensive, long-term recovery effort to help storm-ravaged communities.
“Housing costs have proven to be a major bottleneck facing many small and mid-size communities affected by last year’s disasters,” said KHRC President Steve Weatherford. “Our hope is the program will open that bottleneck and spur redevelopment.”
The 10 communities to receive the first round of Housing Development Grant Awards are:
KHRC received 31 applications requesting $21,353,816 from the money made available through S.B. 417, but only $8 million is available. “The housing grants announced today are a great start, but there’s much more to be done,” said KHRC Executive Director Gary Allsup. “The communities reeling from last year’s disasters face a long road towards recovery. They will need ongoing support from both the state and the private sector for years to come.”
The Housing Development Grant Program awards $4 million annually in grants, initially targeting communities that suffered recent disasters. However, because the legislature approved funding late this past session and close to the 2009 Fiscal Year appropriation date, $8 million is available for grants this year. The program later expands eligibility in 2010 to include all cities.
Under the program, cities and counties compete for funds to construct new housing or rehabilitate infrastructure. Communities are required to demonstrate specific needs and identify developments to meet those needs.
“Cities across Kansas are struggling to attract businesses and workers to their communities, while lacking available and affordable workforce housing,” said Allsup. “These resources will help local communities with long-term development of both rental and individually-owned affordable housing.”
Kansas Housing Resources Corporation is an independent, quasi-public agency that finances and develops affordable housing opportunities for low and moderate-income residents throughout Kansas . For more information, visit KHRC’s website at www.kshousingcorp.org.