In order to help keep Lee’s Summit a nice place to live, city leaders are asking for a few minutes of your time this June.
Fill out the Fair Housing survey that came in the mail, or go online and answer a short anonymous online version of the same survey before June 30. It will help the City of Lee’s Summit keep federal funding dollars that help city neighborhoods stay nice and give neighbors a decent place to live.
Heping Zhan, assistant director of planning and special projects for the City of Lee’s Summit, says the survey is connected to community development entitlement funds the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has allotted to Lee’s Summit every year since 1994.
Lee’s Summit gets between $300,000 and $350,000 each year through this program. The city uses these entitlement community development dollars to help address blight and to benefit low- and moderate-income residents who might have a hard time keeping up their homes.
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“We actually use the grant funds to help people in need in the community who otherwise have a burden or cannot live a decent life, or they don’t have decent housing to live in, and basically need help,” Zhan said. “This helps meet the needs of those people.”
There are two programs the money primarily funds: The Minor Home Repair Program and the First Time Homebuyer Program.
The Minor Home Repair Program offers up to $10,000 for home repairs for each qualifying single family detached home owner needing to do repairs. The city also uses the funds to offer up to $3,000 for homeowners needing to complete private sewer improvements.
The money also goes to a First Time Homebuyer program. It provides qualifying first time home buyers up to $3,000 to help purchase a home.
A portion of the dollars also goes to fund local non-profit agencies which serve low- to moderate-income people and people with special needs. The Lee’s Summit Housing Authority also uses some of these funds to update their public housing units.
This is the first time the city is conducting this survey. In the past the city has relied on participation in regional studies. This year, the Lee’s Summit City Council directed city staff to save the costs of participating in the group studies and do the study in-house.
“We have the ability to do it. It just takes a little time,” Zhan said.
The overall process of the study will not be completed until August of 2019. However, the time frame open for residents to return surveys is only open until June 30.
The survey is anonymous and not required. However, Zhan says it is important.
“As a city, we really want to encourage citizens to participate in this process,” Zhan said. “It’s important. Regardless of whether they are better off, or worse off, we want to hear from them. That will help the city address the real needs.”
Some households will see hard copies of the survey come in the mail. Others are asked to go online to the City’s web site at http://cityofLS.net/Development. If a hard copy is not mailed to your home and you would like to have one, you can call 816-969-1600.