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Wichita and Sedgwick County eviction help or rehousing assistance programs.

Several non-profits in Sedgwick County have combined forces as part of the Task Force to End Chronic Homelessness (TECH), and together they offer many different programs for stopping evictions as well as placing people into a new, affordable home. There may not only be assistance in leasing a new home in the city of Wichita, but many of the TECH based agencies such as the Center of Hope will offer grants to pay for various housing related expenses.

The programs in the region are strictly focused on helping low income tenants. There is not assistance for homeowners. This means that a family that rents an apartment in Sedgwick County (or that leases a home) can apply for emergency eviction help. When qualified, and funding allows, there may be money to pay for rental arrears or energy bills. Or other expenses covered by by legal fees from an attorney or relocation/rehousing costs.

There are many local agencies that offer these homeless prevention programs to local residents. Some of them are as follows. Even if one is not available, or can't assist with the specific need, then referrals may be given instead.

Some of these groups include referrals from the United Way intake line. They have details on shelter, grant programs, much more and the phone number is (211). The Center of Hope is a leading eviction prevention non-profit, and dial (316) 267-0222. Episcopal Social Services (phone (316) 269-4160) as well as Inter-Faith Homeless Ministries (dial (316) 264-8051) and Salvation Army Emergency Social Services (call (316) 263-2196) are just a few of the other non-profits.

There is an overall Plan to End Chronic Homelessness throughout Sedgwick County as well as the city of Wichita. TECH took a leading role in implementing this using HUD funds and the support of those charities listed above. Together they offer everything that is needed to tackle to problems of evictions as well as lack of affordable housing.

The currently homeless can often benefit from the Housing First program. A case manager will partner with the applicant on this multi-faceted service. When a client meets the HUD definition of being homeless (such as living on the streets or in a shelter) then assistance may be given to them.





The first step is getting the Sedgwick County homeless family some type of temporary lodging. The three solutions may be a shelter, the Center of Hope issuing a free motel voucher, or transitional housing. Once the goal based steps that are part of the case management rehousing program are met, then agencies may be able to provide cash grants for paying security deposits as well as moving costs or landlord fees.

Sedgwick County eviction prevention services are often paid for using money from the HEARTH Act Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program. The government money will be used to keep the family in their current, private housing. When possible, there may be money, including loans, to pay for the following costs. ESG can assist with rental costs, utility bills, water needs, winter heating bills, and much more.

ESG funds may also be used to coordinate legal aid in the county. There is a local office of the Kansas legal aid office, and their phone number is 316-265-9681. Attorneys and their staff from the Sedgwick County office are committed to help low income families as well as seniors that are threatened with an eviction. When this is not possible, the agencies may try to mediate some form of solution to the crisis.

The youth that are homeless, or on the verge of having their parents evicted, can get help too. The non-profits want to keep families together. Whether it is a single mom or two parent household, ensuring that children and the youth in Wichita are safe and stable is a priority.

When seeking a grant, referrals are needed from one or the following non-profits. They should first call on one of the agencies above. Or they can try the United Methodist Open Door, Sedgwick County Human Services, USD 259, Wichita Children's Home, or even Veterans Administration. All of these groups are part of TECH, or the Task Force to End Chronic Homelessness. Or another referrals service is the United Way hotline, and they too offer housing programs.



By Jon McNamara

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