Kansas officials work to speed distribution of eviction aid

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Kansas officials continue working to speed up the distribution of aid money to help people avoid eviction.

More than 40% of the $169 million allocated to the state program has been given out so far, according to Ryan Vincent, executive director of the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation that is overseeing the aid program.

Kansas, like most states, fell short of the federal goal of distributing at least 65% of the aid money by Nov. 15, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. Federal reporting shows only 10 states and the District of Columbia met that target.

But Vincent said Kansas has been making steady progress and roughly 32,000 Kansans have received help so far. The amount of aid money the state handed out has more than doubled since late August when it had given out just $31.9 million or about 17% of the total.

And Kansas isn’t in danger of having the federal government reclaim some of the money because the state had distributed at least 30% of the aid by the November deadline.

Initially the program had extensive requirements to help prevent fraud but those rules slowed the distribution of aid. Since then, the federal government has loosened some of its restrictions.

Vincent said officials are trying to balance getting the aid out quickly against making sure that applications are vetted properly.

“How do we make sure that we’re getting the dollars out the door to as many people for an emergency program as quickly as possible but also make sure that we’re doing it in a way that is a responsible stewardship of federal taxpayer funds,” he said.