Wichita, Kansas, will begin selling a portion of its single-family public housing units in an effort to add affordable housing stock to the private market. The city announced in January 2022 that it would sell its 352 single-family public housing units in groups. The first 37 units, which are vacant, will be sold in the coming weeks, while the rest are occupied by tenants who can make the first offer to purchase. Tenants who do not purchase their homes will receive a 90-day notice to vacate and a housing voucher to help with rent at a private apartment complex. The city is working to identify alternative housing options for these tenants.
The decision to sell the public housing units comes as cities across the country are grappling with a lack of funding for repairs. The U.S. public housing stock requires $25.6 billion in repairs, and many of the units in Wichita are in dilapidated conditions. The city had previously pursued a federal program to convert public housing properties into privately-owned properties but was unable to secure financing for its scattered single-family units. However, in 2021, the city received $72.4 million in federal funds and allocated $5 million of it towards an affordable housing fund. The fund will be used to rehabilitate or build new affordable homes, with a focus on the housing units being sold. The proceeds from the sale of the homes will be used for affordable housing activities, including the development of a new homeless services center.
Wichita’s housing department is actively reaching out to potential buyers for the units, particularly those interested in affordable homeownership. The city is also prioritizing investment in its public housing units, aiming to rehabilitate and renovate the homes to ensure they are suitable for owner-occupancy. As the city undergoes environmental reviews of the units and circumstances change, the groupings of houses subject to sale may be adjusted.
Source: KMUW (Celia Hack)