Housing official talks about growing demand for rental assistance in Wichita

KSN Digital Extra

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Since the City of Wichita opened applications for the Wichita Emergency Rental Assistance Program Monday morning, more than 800 people have sent in their solicitation. City officials say they expect the number to gradually grow.

The program is intended to help Wichitans pay for their overdue rent and utility bills.

“Many families have been impacted by COVID-19 and are hurting, I mean we see the number of families that are struggling to get their unemployment benefits that really didn’t surprise me,” said Sally Stang, director of Housing and Community Services for the City of Wichita. “And we’re going to continue to outreach to make sure that we are reaching everybody who might be eligible to apply.” <

Stang says her team will work to process all of the applications that are coming in, but her priority will be those who fall under 50% of the area’s median income or those who have been unemployed for at least the past 90 days, as required by legislation.

“Now, how long it takes is really dependent on how complete the application is from the applicant, ” Stang said. “Did they provide their documentation of their income? Did they provide the proof of the COVID-related impact?”

Stang added that people who have all their paperwork ready ahead of time, may experience faster processing and possibly get their aid sooner.

“It’s not that we want to slow things down — it’s just a matter of a lot of paperwork that’s required per the legislation, and for the grant terms that we document income for all household members,” she explained. “Sometimes people don’t realize that and don’t necessarily submit the income of other family members, and so that’s another reason we’re reaching out for additional information.”

Stang shared the aid can also be granted to undocumented residents who meet the program’s requirements and provide the required identification to receive the help.

“They may be challenged in being able to provide the identification that’s necessary,” Stang said.

To be eligible for the WERAP program:

  1. The household must have an income below 80% AMI. Households with an income of less than 50% AMI or households who were employed in 2020 but have been unemployed for the 90 days prior to application will be served first.
  2. The family must have past due rent and/or utilities and must have received an eviction notice or demand for payment.
  3. The family must have a COVID-19 related economic impact such as loss of job, reduced hours, reduced tips, or increased childcare or medical expenses.

Dependent on funding availability, the program can provide funding for:

  1. Past due rent & utilities
  2. Future rent & utilities in three month increments with recertification of eligibility every 90 days
  3. A total of 12 months of assistance (past due & future payments combined)

While waiting for the program to come online households should gather the following required documentation:

  1. Copy of the lease
  2. Copy of the eviction notice or demands for payment
  3. Documentation of income (check stubs, unemployment statement, child support printout, W2s and 1099s from 2020 etc)
  4. Contact information for the landlord
  5. Documentation of the COVID-19 related economic impact (unemployment statement, termination letter, letter from employer regarding reduced hours, sufficient check stubs to document reduced hours, remote school documentation coupled with childcare statement, medical bills for COVID-19 related illness etc)
Income Limit for Number of Persons in Family
​Income Limit Category​1​2​34​5​6​7​8
​Very Low 50% AMI​$25,450​$29,050​$32,700​$36,300​$39,250​$42,150​$45,050​$47,950
​Low Income 80% AMI​$40,700​$46,500​$52,300​$58,100​$62,750​$67,400​$72,050​$76,700
Infographic courtesy of: City of Wichita

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