With eviction ban gone, rental help more important than ever

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TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansans behind on their rent can now face eviction. The nationwide eviction ban ended this past weekend, and that has some people concerned landlords won’t be patient with renters behind on their bills.

The ban was put in place last year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials said it was to prevent people from losing their homes and moving into shelters or in with friends or family, which could have increased the spread of coronavirus.

Now the CDC and Congress let the order expire. There also isn’t a ban on the state level anymore, but there is help is available for those in need.

The state received $300 million in federal rental assistance, and Kansas Housing Resources Corporation is dispersing it. It has sent out nearly $22 million of the $45 million requested so far through Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance.

Officials at Kansas Housing said it’s important to get the word out to renters, and especially landlords, that a lot of money is available.

“Rather than go ahead and exercise what is now their legal right and evict, to instead just pause, work with their tenants, apply for KERA, we’ve got money, we’re not going to run out of these funds. Let us help you as a landlord, because ultimately if a landlord evicts, then they’re out of all of that back-rent,” said Ryan Vincent, executive director at Kansas Housing.

People are eligible for the program if they are low-wage earners and have been hit financially because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Suddenly if people are at risk of losing their homes,” Vincent said. “It’s a real problem for our tenants, it’s a problem for our landlords, and it’s a problem for our society.”

Funding can be used to pay rent, utility, and internet bills that are behind.

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