HHR program nearing its end

Meghan Flynn
Garden City Telegram
The Finney County Administrative Center is located in the 300 block of N. Ninth St.

The second run of the countywide Household Emergency Relief Program is nearing its end.

The Finney County Commission discussed the program at its regular meeting Monday.

Funded by a SPARK grant, the program was relaunched for a second run at the commission's regular meeting Feb. 1. The program is an extension of one the county had in 2020 for an 11-to 12-week period and helped more than 130 households.

In a previous Garden City Telegram interview, Robert Reece, Finney County administrator, said the HHR program is designed to assist families and/or individuals struggling with meeting bills either for rent, house payments, utility bills, etc., due to the COVID-19 pandemic and "providing them with an avenue for relief."

The dollar cap on the program is $250,000, and each household that applies is eligible to receive up to $10,000.

So far in the second run, $151,889.34 has been awarded, with an average award of $3,164.36 per household.

Jeff Stevens, vice president of emergency management with iParametrics, the firm managing the county's SPARK grant funds, said so far there have been a total of 67 applicants, two of whom have withdrawn, and 48 awards have been given out.

"It's been a very healthy response thus far," he said. "We have another 18 pending applicants as of Feb. 26, and if all of those applicants do receive funding, you'll have about just over $208,000, almost $209,000, expended. So we're really coming to a rapid close for this program."

Additionally, 10 of the total 67 applicants were from the first run of the program and 57 were new.

Commissioners decided at the meeting to keep the application process open until all of the money is gone.

Currently, there are seven applicants who have been approved and more on a wait list, so people can continue to apply, but there is no guarantee that they will receive funds.

The commission also agreed that after the current seven applicants receive their funds that they will focus on approving those asking for mortgage assistance rather than rental assistance for the remaining funds as the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance Care Program kicks off on March 15, while there is no other program for mortgage holders.