The Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance program, or KERA, has doled out $257,551,963.86, since its launch in the spring of 2021. The Wichita version of the program, WERAP, sits around 29 million distributed.

While the programs were helpful for thousands of Kansas needing help to cover their rent, the programs were only temporary because they were funded through federal COVID funds. Over the last few weeks, both programs have announced they have been close to running out of funds. 

With so many losing this funding, could we see a rise in evictions? Casey Johnson with Kansas Legal Services says their organization is "hoping for the best planning for the worst."

He adds there is some optimism that it won't be as bad because "after the after the pandemic ended in courts open back up and that eviction moratorium ended, we also expected it to rise then there wasn't as a huge jump in eviction cases like we thought. So hopefully, that'll be the same scenario here."

However, for those families that are facing this issue, there are other programs that could help. The Salvation Army has several programs, ranging from rental and utility assistance, to short term shelter and rapid re-housing programs. However, director of Social Services, Jami Scott, says the organization seeing some trends that could put them in a bind if there is a big push for more aid

"What we are seeing is here recently in the shelter, we have seen an uptick in families. More than just mom and a kid, it's mom and three kids are mom and dad, and three or four kids."

She says on top of this, people are having to stay two to three times as long at their 30-day emergency shelter because “we are also seeing a real struggle in our other programs for our Rapid Rehousing for folks to be able to find landlords who are willing to work with various programs, who are willing to work with people who maybe have been evicted, or who don't have the perfect rental history.”

She says this has slowed them down in the amount of people they can help with shelter needs but she adds that they are committed to helping people even if that means sending them to another organization.

She does say it is better to address these potential evictions or need for aid early and so she encourages anyone who thinks they may be in need of rental when their WERAP funding expires to reach out now.

"We're going to be able to pay six to eight months of rent, and we're going to make sure that they pay their utilities, and we're gonna make sure that they pay their part of the rent. If there's any problems, we can act as a go between the landlord and the person renting."

Johnson also encourages people to act quickly if they are facing eviction, he says the sooner someone at KLS knows about a problem, the better help they can provide. “One of the other things that we're doing is we're partnering with other agencies. So even though that funding is drying up, we do have several other rental assistance agencies that can help our clients. “

If you are need of help, you can call the United Way of the Plains at 2-1-1 and they can point you in the direction of your nearest programs.

The Kansas Housing Authority has also put together a list of resources for people, which you can find it below.