Gov. pushes for affordable housing needs at annual conference

Governor Laura Kelly attends the 17th annual Kansas Housing Conference on Aug. 30, 2022.
Governor Laura Kelly attends the 17th annual Kansas Housing Conference on Aug. 30, 2022.(Office of the Kansas Governor)
Published: Aug. 30, 2022 at 1:55 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (WIBW) - Kansas Governor Laura Kelly pushed the need for growth opportunities for affordable homes in the state’s current housing market at the annual housing conference.

Kansas Governor Laura Kelly addressed attendees of the Kansas Housing Corporation’s 17th annual Kansas Housing Conference in Wichita on Tuesday, Aug. 30. She said the annual conference attracts housing professionals from throughout the state to explore trends, innovations and solutions to affordable housing.

Gov. Kelly said she discussed the work her administration has done to make progress on affordable housing and the continued demand to expand and improve the state’s housing stock.

“Housing is a fundamental human need, yet in far too many communities housing options are limited. Rising prices and aging structures mean that too often Kansans struggle just to keep a roof over their heads,” Kelly said. “That’s why my administration has worked to expand our housing supply, help families afford to rent and buy homes, and rehabilitate older structures across the state – especially those in rural communities.”

Early in her administration, Kelly said she created the office of Rural Prosperity - which in 2021 worked with the Kansas Housing Resources Coproration to release the findings of the first state housing needs assessment in nearly 30 years.

Kelly noted that she immediately acted to address the state’s current housing needs and growth opportunities - as outlined in the report.

In 2023′s budget, Kelly said she proposed to ad $20 million to the state’s annual $2 million allotment for the program. She has worked with a bipartisan group of legislators to allocate another $50 million for housing throughout the Sunflower State.

With those investments and special one-time funding for projects, Kelly said the state will see a 2-year investment of more than $90 million targeted toward the state’s rural areas and small cities.

“While more funding is a major piece of the puzzle, it doesn’t altogether solve the housing challenges we face,” Kelly said. “We also need to empower local leaders and developers to come up with innovative solutions to their community’s unique housing needs.”

Kelly also noted that she signed bipartisan legislation in 2022 to provide a range of housing and historic preservation tax credits to local communities. She said this will provide more than $100 million in tax incentives over the first three years of the programs.

Kelly indicated that the credits will help diversify and rehabilitate historic properties and encourage local investment in housing.