Wichita’s New Policy Shows Promise for Voucher Program

The city’s innovative approach could help more housing providers participate in Section 8.

2 minute read

A new policy in Wichita, Kansas provides incentive payments for rental property owners who participate in the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. 

The initiative, known as the Wichita Housing Authority Landlord Incentive Program (WHALIP) started earlier this year. It provides support to housing providers who accept households with a Section 8 voucher beyond what they receive in exchange from the federal government. The financial incentives include:

  • $1,000 New Landlord Bonus - A one-time bonus for a landlord that is new to the program, to be paid after successful lease up of the first new tenant;
  • $500 Returning Landlord Bonus - A one-time bonus for a landlord that has previously been on the program but stopped accepting new S8 tenants, for a period of at least 6 months, to be paid after successful lease up of the first new tenant;
  • $250 New Tenant Lease Up Bonus - A $250 bonus for each tenant that a landlord leases up above their baseline count that will be taken on 11/30/22;
  • Within the first 12 months of tenancy, cover up to $2,000 in damages or deductibles for a 0BR or 1BR, and $3,500 for 2+BR applicable after applying security deposit; and
  • Provide up to 2x monthly rent to cover lost rent due to eviction, abandonment or other premature termination of the lease during the initial term, if the landlord commits to leasing to another HCV tenant.

NAA’s Take

This sort of policy offers an exciting and productive way to increase the number of housing providers who participate in the voucher program, which carries too much bureaucratic red tape and inflexibility to be a financially feasible option for many rental property owners.

According to HUD estimates, over 10,000 rental housing providers decide to leave the HCV Program each year and 68 percent of non-participating owners had once accepted voucher residents but decided to stop. Researchers found that these housing providers were not motivated to leave the program because of the voucher household, but because of the administrative inefficiencies experienced with their local PHAs.    

While some jurisdictions have adopted policies that require rental housing providers to accept vouchers, working to force participation in an often inefficient and expensive program, the Wichita Housing Authority appears to be trying to give property owners the support they need to house these important communities.

To learn more about the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, please contact Ben Harrold, NAA’s Manager of Public Policy.