Local non-profit housing developer, Housing Opportunitites, Inc., in June received word from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation, Topeka, that it has been awarded $2,831,830 in tax credits. Then, last week, they received more good news. They were one of nine Community Houisng Development Organizations (CHDO) in Kansas to be awarded federal HOME Rental Development loans. In addition to the tax credits, HOI will also receive this additional $500,000 loan. HOI plans to use these awards to develop Kensington Square, its newest income-based rental property in Great Bend.
“This is exciting because Housing Opportunities Inc. will be able to leverage both funding sources in order to make the project work,” said Barry McMurphy with KHRC. “This is something HOI has done several times in the past.”
Kensington Square will be HOI’s 16th rental property to receive tax credits since 1997, in fact. Their first was The Oaks in Ellinwood, and they then went on to develop income-based rentals in Larned, Great Bend, Hoisington, Lyons, and Sterling, offering 176 apartments and 16 single family homes in all. HOI will be part-owner and the general contractor for Kensington Square, as well as providing management and maintenance services.
Located in the 3000 block of N. Washington Street, one block south of Walnut Bowl, construction is slated to begin this fall, with leaseing to begin in the Spring of 2018. The new property will include 16 two-bedroom apartments, each with a one-car attached garage and complete kitchen amenities.
While the majority of the units will be available to those over 55 years of age, 20 percent will be available to those under 55 this time. Families that fall into both age groups may still be eligible, Dayton said. However, there is an occupancy limit of two per bedroom.
HOI remains committed to the communities it serves, said Vicky Dayton, HOI’s executive director. After the intial 15-year period following the completion of the projects they have taken part in, HOI has exercised its right of first refusal to purchase and be the sole owner of each property.
“After purchasing these properties, we continue to offer them as income-based and affordable places to live,” she said.
Rental properties aren’t the only tool HOI uses to fill local housing needs. The non-profit has also seen to completion a six-year home ownership project, from 200 to 2006, that included 54 new single family homes in Great Bend and three in Larned. The project was under the USDA Rural Development Self-Help “Homeownership” Program.
“The new properties not only provided 57 families with a hand-up to homeownership, they also added to the cities’ tax rolls, creating a real economic development boost,” Dayton said.
Currently, HOI is involved in its second homeownership project, located east of 31st and Washington Street, near where Kensington Square will be developed. In partnership with the City of Great Bend, HOI is offering $25,000 grants to Moderate-Income Households (MIH) to be used for down payment and closing costs on the construction and purchase of a new home. HOI is the general contractor for these homes, each of which feature an open floor plan with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a two-car attached garage, full unfinished basement and the capacity for two additional bedrooms and one bathroom plumbed in the basement.
Applications for both the Kensington Square apartments and the MIH homes can be obtained through Housing Opportunities, Inc., 1313 Stone St., (620) 792-3299. Dayton can also be reached by email at