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Housing Stabilization Collaborative approves changes to distribution of funding for its rent, utility assistance program

Wednesday, February 1, 2023 - 9:00am


The Housing Stabilization Collaborative (HSC) website is having server troubles today (Feb. 1) due to the large amount of people applying for rent and utility assistance. Douglas County Human Services has decided to move to the lottery system immediately. People can now apply for assistance until 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 6. Qualified applications will be randomly selected on Tuesday, Feb. 7. HSC will notify all of those who apply as to whether they will receive funding. Notification will be sent via email from to the applicant email address listed in the application.



Due to an overwhelming need for rent and utility assistance in Douglas County and lack of available funding to meet the need, the Douglas County Housing Stabilization Collaborative recently decided to change the way it distributes funding to increase equity for applicants.

The Housing Stabilization Collaborative (HSC) has been using a first-come, first-served system to distribute funding through its Rent/Utility Assistance Program since it began in fall 2020. With this system, applications open on the first day of each month at 9 a.m. and qualified applications are fulfilled until available funding runs out or applicants have reached the annual maximum cap.

“The first-come, first-served process favors those who can type the fastest, access a computer, or have someone filling out the application on their behalf,” Douglas County Human Services Program Manager Gabi Sprague said. “The lottery system removes that barrier and is best practice in communities where funding cannot meet the need.”

HSC will use the current first-come, first served system on Feb. 1 for February distribution and then move to a lottery system, where people can submit an application between Feb. 15 and March 1. Qualified applications will be randomly selected on March 2. With the lottery system, HSC will have a better idea of what the gap is between applications and funding. Last month, HSC provided $104,535 to 108 households.

Additionally, HSC decided to lower the annual rent and utility assistance cap per household to $1,500 plus $100 for each dependent in order to serve more households annually. The previous cap was $2,205 plus $100 for each dependent.

“We do not have enough funding to meet the need in our community,” Sprague said. “This change will allow us to do the most we can with available funding.”

From April 2021 through the end of 2022, HSC distributed $1.8 million. It currently has $887,694 to distribute through the end of 2023. The funding comes from multiple sources including: Douglas County, the City of Lawrence and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

Additionally, the Kansas Emergency Rental Assistance (KERA) program, which was established with federal COVID pandemic relief funds, is on a final hold phase after receiving enough applications to exhaust current funding. Douglas County households received $20 million in KERA assistance between March 2021 and November 2022.

Besides seeking and distributing funding, the HSC also works to improve the underlying systemic issues that are causing the need for assistance:

  • Low wages
  • Source of income protections
  • Right to counsel programming
  • Lower rent
  • More affordable housing

HSC is a collaborative of Douglas County Human Services agencies facilitated by Douglas County Human Services. The mission of the collaborative is to support housing stability for all Douglas County residents by engaging tenants, utility companies, landlords and social service agencies in building a culture of safe, affordable and accessible housing.

Participating agencies include Baldwin City Public Library, Ballard Center, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Centro Hispano, Douglas County Salvation Army, DCCCA, Douglas County Sheriff’s Office Reentry Program, ECKAN, Family Promise of Lawrence, Independence Inc., Kansas Holistic Defenders, Lawrence Community Shelter, Lawrence Public Library, Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority, People’s Owned and Operated Collective Housing, Salvation Army, Senior Resource Center, Success By 6 Coalition, Tenants to Homeowers, United Way of Douglas County and Willow Domestic Violence Center.

For more information, visit:

Media Contact

Karrey Britt, Communications Specialist