Emergency Housing Voucher Program offers financial incentives to landlords

Houses with brick chimneys and wooden fences

Johnson County needs to partner with landlords or property managers to meet their goal of 30 units (1–3 bedrooms) utilizing Emergency Housing Vouchers by September 30, 2023. Not meeting this goal could mean losing these vouchers.

As part of the American Rescue Plan, The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated 70,000 Emergency Housing Vouchers to public housing agencies nationwide to address the impact of COVID-19. Based on the annual Point-in-Time Homeless Count from 2021, the Johnson County Housing Authority received 62 EHVs in June 2021. EHVs will help 62 homeless Johnson County households attain safe, sanitary and stable housing. An EHV subsidizes a household’s monthly rent and offers longterm stability. The household pays 30–40% of their income towards rent to the landlord and the EHV pays the remaining portion directly to the landlord. EHVs assist a wide variety of Johnson County citizens experiencing homelessness, including low-income families, survivors of domestic violence, the elderly and people with disabilities. These vouchers are innovative and differ from the traditional Housing Choice Voucher program as they come with regulation waivers and additional resources to help homeless families get into housing quickly.

The EHV program offers a collaborative approach to helping homeless Johnson County residents gain greater housing stability and self-sufficiency. JCHA partners with the Continuum of Care of Johnson County to receive referrals of homeless households for EHVs. “The households are provided case management, assistance with housing search, housing application assistance and additional resources by their Johnson County CoC referral agency," explained Heather McNeive, Director of Housing Services.

“I view landlords as my customer, I value their input. My goal is to provide excellent customer service, and make it easy and beneficial to work with our program. We have a large tenant pool, offer guaranteed rent and have the financial incentive available. I work to connect landlords to quality renters, who have a long-term, stable source of rent.” -Jessa Molina, Landlord Liaison

Need for more Landlord Partners for Program

A significant factor for the program’s success is the partnership of local and private landlords and property management companies willing to accept households with an EHV. Currently, JCHA is offering a Landlord Incentive payment equal to one month of rent for landlords or property managers who will approve an EHV household for an available unit (excludes the City of Olathe). The Landlord Incentive funds can be used for whatever the landlord or property manager wants with no strings attached (i.e., maintenance, damages or any other expense).

The EHV program offers financial security for landlords via guaranteed monthly rental payments. If tenants with an EHV lose income and it’s reported, JCHA will increase the subsidy they pay and reduce the tenant’s portion of rent.

In addition to the Landlord Incentive payment, further benefits include JCHA paying a full security deposit (equal to one month of rent) and free advertising of available units. Landlords that partner with the program continue to screen applicants with an EHV for tenancy as they usually would. Landlords are not required to approve EHV applicants. Still, they may consider changing their screening criteria due to the financial benefits of approving an EHV household. The Landlord Liaison for JCHA offers direct customer service to landlords.

If you are a landlord and would like to directly market your unit to EHV families or learn more about partnering with the Johnson County Housing Authority, please contact the Landlord Liaison, Jessa Molina, at 913-715-6618 or jessa.molina2@jocogov.org.

“Emergency Housing Vouchers represent a unique opportunity for the Johnson County community to end homelessness, one family at a time. These are long-term housing vouchers for low-income families to reach stability through rent assistance. We risk losing these vouchers and all the federal resources that come with them if we can’t find landlords to partner with. We need 30 units (1–3 bedrooms) to meet our goal of 100% utilization of these vouchers by September 30, 2023. If you are a landlord or property manager, please reach out to Jessa Molina and let us give you some money and fill your vacant units quickly.” -Heather McNeive, Director of Housing Services