The City of Lawrence strives to create a community where all enjoy life and feel at home.
In order to advance the health, safety, and welfare of all residents, it is our goal that all persons in the community have access to safe, affordable housing and the supportive services necessary to maintain independent living with dignity.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING TRUST FUND

The Affordable Housing Advisory Board (AHAB) oversees the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund and makes recommendations to the City Commission on tools and strategies to increase access to safe, quality, affordable housing and supportive services necessary to maintain independent living with dignity. 


WHAT IS AFFORDABLE HOUSING?

Affordable housing is housing that a household can pay for, while still having money left over for other necessities like food, transportation, and health care. The federal government defines housing as affordable when it consumes no more than 30% of a household’s income. Therefore, what’s considered “affordable” depends on a household’s income.

The price that is affordable may vary, but the need for housing that is affordable is the same for everyone.

Unfortunately, a growing share of the population cannot afford its housing costs. Locally, almost half (49%) of all renters and one in four homeowners are “housing insecure”, meaning they are cost burdened from their housing. The lowest-income households are the most likely to be severely cost burdened, but even moderate income earners in Lawrence struggle to find affordable  housing.

The Affordable Housing Trust Fund supports the development and rehabilitation of affordable housing for low and moderate income households.

The City of Lawrence utilizes the following definitions for housing affordability:

  1. Households spending 30% or less of monthly gross income on housing (mortgage/rent plus taxes and utilities);
  2. Rental housing units with monthly rent and utilities not exceeding 110% of the HUD defined Fair Market Rent, as determined yearly by the Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority;
  3. Homeownership housing units for those earning up to 80% of Median Family Income, as established yearly by HUD for the Lawrence, KS MSA.

The Affordable Housing Advisory Board has adopted the following 5 year goals (2019-2023) to address housing affordability in Lawrence.

  1. Narrow the rental gap for non-student renters earning less than $25,000 annually (100 newly affordable rental units total in 5 years, from 2019-2023).
  2. Low- and moderate-income renters who want to become owners have more options for purchasing affordable units (100 more units are affordable to low- and moderate-income renters who are qualified to become owners in 5 years, from 2019-2023).
  3. Low- and moderate-income persons with accessibility needs are able to get the improvements they need and/or find visitable and accessible housing (25 renter households that receive accessibility modifications annually).
  4. Low- and moderate-income residents in unstable housing situations have more permanent affordable and supportive housing options (45 tenant based rental assistance vouchers available annually).
  5. Low- and moderate-income residents living in housing in poor condition have improvements made (70 units brought into good condition annually).

The City of Lawrence Strategic Plan has adopted the following housing affordability goals:

  1. Less than 15% of households that are experiencing housing stress (spending more than 30% of their income on housing)
  2. Less than 250 people experiencing homelessness by creating lasting solutions to connect people to housing

Follow our progress here

2018 Lawrence Housing Market Analysis

In late 2017, the City of Lawrence contracted with BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a Housing Market Analysis. The primary purpose of the housing study was to conduct a Comprehensive Housing Market Study, updating and expanding the scope of the 2005 Community Housing Assessment Team Report to identify housing needs in the city, and to inform the allocation of the city’s new Affordable Housing Trust Fund. This study is a critical policy document because it serves as a housing needs assessment for the City and stakeholders providing an analysis of household affordability throughout all population segments of the community. The study highlights expected demographic trends, future demands for housing, regulations, and obstacles preventing the market from effectively responding to this demand, and an inventory of the assets and programs currently available to help the community address these challenges.

2021 Kansas Needs Assessment

In 2021, the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation and the Office of Rural Prosperity launched the state’s first comprehensive housing needs assessment in nearly 30 years, aiming to address a decades-long shortage of data on existing housing resources and current and projected needs. A lack of quality, affordable housing is widely recognized as one of the state’s biggest barriers to growth and development, particularly in rural and underserved communities. Analysis included a series of 71 virtual and in-person listening sessions with more than 425 community participants across the state, as well as meetings with housing stakeholder groups. Consultants conducted a statewide survey of more than 4,400 respondents and analyzed census data to develop a comprehensive picture of the state’s housing needs, current resources, and growth opportunities. Learn more:

     For more information contact Lea Roselyn, Affordable Housing Administrator: LRoselyn@lawrenceks.org