The Smith Center Economic Development department is working to improve the quality and availability of affordable housing in Smith Center. Our community is experiencing a lack of affordable housing, similar to many other communities in our area. This is limiting our ability to attract workforce into our businesses and grow our economy.
Clean Up and Revitalization Grant Program
The Smith Center Economic Development department's Clean Up and Revitalization grant program enhances our community by removing dilapidated structures or debris so property is prepared for new construction or other improvements that will increase its value. These reimbursement grants are matching grants and must be approved before the clean up work is completed.
For the application for clean up and revitalization of Smith Center residential properties, click here.
NCRPC Housing Initiative
The North Central Regional Planning Commission recently announced the NCRPC Housing Initiative that includes two pilot programs through the generous support of the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.
The Moderate Income Housing Rehabilitation Pilot Program offers reimbursement grants of up to $12,500 to homeowners in Cloud, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Russell and Smith counties to complete minor housing upgrades (e.g. roofing, siding, or heating and air units, etc.). The homeowner must provide 10% of the project total up to $1,250. Rental properties are not eligible. Self-help is allowed. Households must meet moderate income guidelines to be eligible.
The Demolition program offers reimbursements grants of up to $5,000 per property for removal and cleanup of dilapidated structures (e.g. house, garage, shed, etc.). This is not an income-based program; anyone may qualify.
For more information on both of these pilot programs, check out NCRPC Housing Initiative - NCRPC.
Update: Application slots for the Rehab program are full with a few slots remaining for the Demolition program.
North Central Regional Planning Commission - Weatherization Assistance Program
The North Central Regional Planning Commission operates a Weatherization Assistance Program that helps reduce energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety. Funding for this program is provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).
Eligibility for the Weatherization Program is based solely on income; verification is required (i.e. paystubs, unemployment, public assistance documents). All weatherization work is done at no cost to the individual resident. If the dwelling is a rental unit, the landlord must sign a landlord release form before any materials will be installed. Homes weatherized since September 30, 1994 are not eligible.
Weatherization of a home consists of the following:
- A pre-inspection to determine the amount of work necessary to weatherize the home, in addition to checking heating appliances for safety and efficiency.
- Furnaces found to be unsafe will be repaired, if possible, or replaced.
- Infiltration work such as patching foundation, caulking and weatherstripping windows and exterior doors; sealing or replacing broken glass.
- Wall and attic insulation will be considered. This is dependent upon the condition of wiring, roof condition, the amount of existing insulation, type of wall construction and siding.
- Gable or roof vents will be installed, as required.
- A final inspection will be conducted to determine if all the work has been completed.
For more information about this program, please click here or call NCRPC at (800) 432-0303.
Kansas Statewide Housing Needs Assessment 2021
In 2021, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation and the Office of Prosperity launched the state's first comprehensive housing needs assessment in nearly 30 years, aiming to address a decades-long shortage of data on existing housing resources and current projected needs. A lack of quality, affordable housing is widely recognized as one of the state's biggest barriers to growth and development, particularly in rural and underserved communities.
Find the final report here.
Learn more about the North Central Kansas region and how Smith County compares here.
Smith Center 2020 Housing Study
In 2020, Smith Center engaged the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University to conduct a housing needs analysis for the purpose of documenting the availability of affordable housing for its current and future work force, facilitating the broader goal of promoting economic development in the region.
You can access the report below in Related Documents.
That study gave clarity to these key issues:
- there is a shortage of rental units with a strong possibility of overcrowding in rental units
- there is a high proportion of older housing units with approximately 75% of housing units were constructed at least 50 years ago
- households earning $50,000 or more are faced with a shortage of housing units within their affordable price range
- this shortage of suitable housing for the current workforce is likely to increase the economic instability and discourage people to join the labor force in Smith Center.
The Economic Development department is working to address this critical need.