The Housing Stabilization Collaborative (HSC) exists to support community members in accessing and affording sustainable housing through our rental and utility assistance program, landlord engagement best practices, monthly rental availability list, and partnership with local social service agencies. As a collaborative, we work towards reducing and eliminating housing barriers for renters as well as working with local landlords to provide safe and affordable housing.
How we started: Rent and Utility Assistance During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The HSC rent and utility assistance program began as a collaboration between Family Promise of Lawrence and Tenants to Homeowners to provide emergency rent/utility assistance coupled with monthly check-ins to ensure household needs were met during the duration of assistance. This was a successful model, and in Fall of 2020, the program was given a million dollars to disburse to the Douglas County community to prevent homelessness during the pandemic.
The HSC was able to distribute these funds appropriately and efficiently, and was given additional staffing and funding to continue the program.
HSC and the KERA Program
The HSC also worked heavily to ensure access to the much larger Kansas rental assistance program, the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program. While Douglas County’s population accounts for 4.2% of Kansas’s population, Douglas County KERA payments accounted for 7.4% of the total payments made to Kansans. The HSC feels this highlights the importance of collaboration amongst agencies in best serving program participants.
Where we are now: Douglas County Human Services Program
The success of the HSC and the clear ongoing need for rent/utility assistance led to the creation of the Douglas County, KS Government’s Human Services Program which now convenes the HSC as we continue to partner with local social service agencies.
We still provide rent/utility assistance and are working to provide more robust and systemic solutions to the housing problems faced by the Douglas County, KS community.
In addition to providing rent/utility assistance, the HSC currently works to…
- Build and maintain relationships with over 150 landlords in Douglas County, providing incentive funding and other supports.
- Gather rental availability, screening requirements, and other information to best support tenants in their search for housing.
- Provide education to landlords and tenants about the various social service agencies working with households at risk of or experiencing homelessness.