New Program Designed to Help Low Income People Find and Stay in Affordable Housing

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – Kim Wilson Housing, Inc., has received a grant from the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City to help clients of Wyandot Center and PACES secure and maintain safe and affordable housing in Wyandotte County.

The pilot program, Housing Location Services, will educate front-line social workers on resources and techniques their clients can use to find and keep affordable housing.

As part of the grant, Kim Wilson Housing will partner with the Kansas City Kansas Housing Authority to reduce evictions through mediation between landlords and tenants. The program will also foster relationships with new landlords to create more safe and affordable housing within Wyandotte County.

Kim Wilson Housing’s focus is to provide innovative solutions to create affordable housing opportunities for vulnerable populations. KWH is an intermediary organization providing core services for local and state government agencies and for health and wellness organizations in the Greater Kansas City area.

“A full-time minimum wage worker today cannot afford a two-bedroom rental unit at fair market rent without sacrificing food, transportation, medical care or other necessities,” said Christy McMurphy, executive director of Kim Wilson Housing. “In Kansas City, persons with disabilities and living on Supplemental Security Income must pay 100 percent of their monthly income to rent a modest one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent for our city. Many low income families are at immediate risk of homelessness due to rising rents. Rents have increased at an accelerated rate over the past year by double-digit percentages in some poorer zip codes even though household incomes and developers’ costs have remained flat.”

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, families who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered cost burdened. Currently, an estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing.

Jana Loflin, Director of Housing Location Services, said, “Anyone who understands this should be alarmed. When you consider quality of life, safe and affordable housing tops the list. Stable housing paves the path to job security, children’s success at school and improved overall health, not to mention to positive impact on the community as a whole.”

The project will track outcomes of the pilot program with hope that it can be expanded.

Wyandot Center is Wyandotte County’s designated community mental health center serving adults. PACES serves children.

Funding for the project was provided by the Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City. The foundation provides leadership and resources to eliminate barriers and promote quality health for the uninsured and underserved.

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