Wichita city council members have approved an agreement with a state agency to provide financial help for people who have struggled to make rent payments because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Kansas Housing Resources Corporation is administering the Kansas Eviction Prevention Program (KEPP), using $35 million in funding from the federal CARES Act for coronavirus relief.

Wichita’s Housing and Community Services Director, Sally Stang, said KEPP will provide rental assistance to income eligible households that have missed one or more rent payments since January.   The household must be at or below 85 percent of the state median income, or $63,920 for a household of four.   Stang said landlords and tenants will apply together through an online process, and if the application is approved, the program will provide funds to the tenant’s account.    Households would be eligible for up to nine months of assistance, not to exceed $5,000 per household.   Applications for the program are open now, and the funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Wichita Sedgwick County Community Action Partnership will be administrating the program, and it will work to pre-qualify tenants and landlords and refer them to the KEPP application portal.   The program is expected to be in place by the end of the year.

City council member Jeff Blubaugh said the program will be a win-win for landlords and tenants.