Residential Housing

The Smith Center Economic Development department is working to improve the quality and quantity of housing available in Smith Center and the area. Our area is experiencing a lack of affordable housing, similar to many other communities in our region. This is limiting our ability to attract workforce into our businesses and grow our economy. 

The 2022 Economic Development Plan outlines two goals related to housing: 

  • Rehabilitate Current Housing Inventory through offering a mix of programs and incentives
  • Build New Houses for families and elderly (and others ready to downsize) by leveraging local investment with state funds

To contribute to both goals, the Smith Center Economic Development Department is working with Smith County staff to update the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan, which provided a rebate on the incremental increase in property taxes from improvements to residential or commerical property. 

More about our work on Residential Housing is available in the Documents on This Page. 


Goal: Rehabilitate Current Housing Inventory

 

Clean Up and Revitalization Grant Program

The Smith Center Economic Development department's Clean Up and Revitalization grant program enhances our community by removing dilapidated structures or debris so property is prepared for new construction or other improvements that will increase its value. These reimbursement grants are matching grants and must be approved before the clean up work is completed. 

For the guidelines and application for clean up and revitalization of Smith Center residential properties, click here

 

Low Income Households - Weatherization Assistance Program

The North Central Regional Planning Commission operates a Weatherization Assistance Program that helps reduce energy costs for low-income households by increasing the energy efficiency of their homes, while ensuring their health and safety. Funding for this program is provided by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LIEAP).

Eligibility for the Weatherization Program is based solely on income; verification is required (i.e. paystubs, unemployment, public assistance documents). All weatherization work is done at no cost to the individual resident. If the dwelling is a rental unit, the landlord must sign a landlord release form before any materials will be installed. Homes weatherized since September 30, 1994 are not eligible.

Weatherization of a home consists of the following:

  • A pre-inspection to determine the amount of work necessary to weatherize the home, in addition to checking heating appliances for safety and efficiency.
    • Furnaces found to be unsafe will be repaired, if possible, or replaced.
    • Infiltration work such as patching foundation, caulking and weatherstripping windows and exterior doors; sealing or replacing broken glass.
    • Wall and attic insulation will be considered. This is dependent upon the condition of wiring, roof condition, the amount of existing insulation, type of wall construction and siding.
    • Gable or roof vents will be installed, as required.
  • A final inspection will be conducted to determine if all the work has been completed.

For more information about this program, please click here or call NCRPC at (800) 432-0303. 

 

Goal: Build New Houses

There are a few new houses being built in the area, which indicates a demand for new housing stock. One of those houses utlized the Smith Center Land Bank where a house on a Main Street lot was donated to the land bank, the house that was beyond repair was cleared by the city, and then the lot sold to a local developer who is building a house. 

There are other homes and developments planned and we are assessing the housing market to develop funding applications to gather the capital needed to build more homes. These applications will utilize these two studies, which describe the region and Smith Center's housing situation.

 

Kansas Statewide Housing Needs Assessment 2021

In 2021, Kansas Housing Resources Corporation and the Office of 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 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. 

Find the final report here

Learn more about the North Central Kansas region and how Smith County compares here

 

Smith Center 2020 Housing Study

In 2020, Smith Center engaged the Docking Institute of Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University to conduct a housing needs analysis for the purpose of documenting the availability of affordable housing for its current and future work force, facilitating the broader goal of promoting economic development in the region.

You can access the report below in Related Documents

That study gave clarity to these key issues:

  • there is a shortage of rental units with a strong possibility of overcrowding in rental units 
  • there is a high proportion of older housing units with approximately 75% of housing units were constructed at least 50 years ago
  • households earning $50,000 or more are faced with a shortage of housing units within their affordable price range
  • this shortage of suitable housing for the current workforce is likely to increase the economic instability and discourage people to join the labor force in Smith Center.