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Homeless prevention programs in Shawnee County and Topeka.

Homeless prevention programs across Shawnee County as well as Topeka will help tenants retain existing housing or assist families with obtaining a new, affordable apartment or home to live in. The assistance combines grants for housing (rent, utilities, mortgages, storage costs) with legal aid as well as security deposit help in an effort to support people as they regain stability.

There are resources both for the currently homeless as well as tenants with an eviction notice from their landlord. When a family is seeking help, they need to enroll into extensive case management services. Any type of cash grant for paying rental or energy bill arrears is combined with educational as well as employment support services. The programs available include the following.

Homeless shelters and outreach

Homeless outreach is organized by Kansas Housing in Topeka. Volunteers as well as staff from local churches as well as charities go to the streets in the region as well as greater Shawnee County. They do this in an effort to assist the chronically homeless, and the reach out process bring them everything from a meal to information on shelters or rehousing.

This Shawnee County program is paid for by HUD. It will support people that live in vehicles, camps, parks, vans, and under bridges in Topeka and anywhere they are homeless. The goal is to place them into a homeless shelter. When those are full, then rehousing may be able to give some people a free motel voucher. All of this aid is used in an effort to address the housing need. The process will also tackle any employability needs, help the disabled, and there will be counseling for substance abuse issues.

Special Projects are also part of the eviction and rehousing programs. This is when agencies that are part of the Continuum of Care band together to coordinate resources. Any assistance will depend on need and funding levels. Some of what is given, such as free legal aid, will focus on seniors. Other resources, including meals and shelter for the homeless, is more wide ranging using he local shelters. But in any case, the Special Project process is more targeted aid.




Emergency Solution Grants for homeless prevention and rehousing

Eviction Help from Emergency Solutions Grants – This is the primary financial aid program for stopping homelessness. HUD will allow non-profits in Shawnee County, such as the United Way, to provide grant based aid in the community. It also helps pay for any legal costs incurred in the local Topeka housing court system.

The emergency money can help pay for housing deposits, back rent, or moving costs. Storage expenses may be paid too. Utility bill can also be paid. There may be funds for paying water, electric, and heating costs. All of the ESG grants are focused on housing needs and general homeless prevention. The staff that are part of the non-profit will also provide other case management services to tenants who have a pay or quit notice.

Shawnee County has a HUD funded rapid re-housing program. This is different than the outreach service as it is for people that are already more stable. There will be support for residents that are currently living in transitional housing or shelter that now have an income. It will also rehouse families that are living in hotels paid for by charitable organizations. There may also even be free hotel vouchers applications online at the agency.

The program includes permanent housing placement. While financial help may be issued as part of this, the more pressing objective is to offer everything from parenting classes to single moms, budgeting classes, GED adult education, and assistance with providing for government benefits such as section 8 housing vouchers. Once all this is done will money be given to pay rental deposits.

Homeless prevention is also for Topeka and Shawnee County Families in Need. This will focus on those households with children. It not only includes two parent homes, but also those with single moms or dads. This will of course give them a loan for rental arrears when money is available, but it also stresses growth or case management.





Families will have a comprehensive development made. It is a goal based process with deadlines that need to be met. The ongoing case management is provided with a goal of providing support as well as guidance that will move clients who are in crisis towards permanent housing. The process stresses family unity.

Applying for homeless prevention and rehousing in Shawnee County

Funds come and go as set by the government. Most of the aid is from referrals.

For more resources in the region, a referral line is in place. Low income renters, or those with an eviction letter, should dial Kansas Housing (611 South Kansas Ave. at (785) 217-2001) or the United Way for intake


By Jon McNamara


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