WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Downtown Wichita is losing another affordable housing option as apartments at 520 E. Central Ave. are set to be torn down and turned into a parking lot.
Tenants in the apartment building across from Nifty Nut House have to be out within the next month and a half.
Rent in the building costs as low as $295 a month. With the existing citywide affordable housing crisis, residents are scrambling to find a place to go.
For almost nine years, Glenn Riedel has lived at 520 E. Central Ave.
“It’s cheap rent,” said Riedel. “I’m on a fixed income. I get $934 a month.”
If Riedel can’t find anything at his price point, he could end up homeless.
He’s 66 with a bad back, and he can’t stand on his feet for long.
“I’ll be living in my truck,” Riedel said. “It’s the only thing I’ve got left to do.”
The manager of the building, Kris Sims, says it’s hard to get residents in contact with affordable housing providers.
“Call like 20 places, and only five of them call you back,” Sims said.
According to the City of Wichita Housing and Community Services, there’s a shortage of around 40,000 quality affordable housing units statewide.
“It’s really a problem,” said Amanda Meyers, Wichita Family Crisis Center Executive Director. “Affordable housing is really hard to find for middle, low, very low-income families.”
The lack of units leaves people in temporary shelters longer, according to Meyers.
“You need landlords out there who will take vouchers and participate in programs for low-income participants, and those are hard to find,” Meyers said.
Nifty Nut House owner Steve Jahn said since buying the property in 2018, he’s made it clear to property managers that he planned to knock it down eventually.
Sims said she wasn’t given enough advance notice of the demolition.