Blog Archives

Two Housing Nonprofits Launched

Although specific challenges and opportunities for housing may vary for communities across the region, most would agree that housing is an important issue to address.

The NCRPC has launched two new housing nonprofit organizations to help play a role in meeting the housing needs of communities in the region.

NCK Housing Opportunities, Inc. serves Cloud, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, and Saline Counties. Four Rivers Housing Opportunities, Inc. serves Clay, Dickinson, Marshall, and Washington Counties. Both were formed in May 2018 and are IRS approved 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

The purpose of each is the following: “To stabilize population in its designated service area in North Central Kansas through assistance with housing opportunities; to maintain existing housing stock and help prevent further deterioration caused by vacancy; and improve economic conditions that help communities thrive.” Simply put, the mission of each organization is to preserve and strengthen housing in North Central Kansas.

“We keep hearing the need for housing assistance in the region,” Carol Torkelson, NCRPC Housing Director and board treasurer of the new nonprofits said. “We want to create programs that fulfill the purpose and mission of the nonprofits.”

The NCRPC has introduced pilot home ownership programs over the past year in various locations across the region.

“The pilot home ownership programs are really our first offering to try to address some of the needs,” Debra Peters, NCRPC Home Ownership Program Manager and board secretary of the new nonprofits said. “Housing rehabilitation is the next thing we want to tackle.”

The new housing initiatives began under the business loan pool that Peters manages, but quickly evolved to the point of needing its own oversight committee. The housing advisory committee will grow as additional programming is added.

Doug McKinney, NCRPC Executive Director, is leading the new nonprofits as board president. NCRPC Executive Board Treasurer Brian Eilert also serves on the board of directors of the new nonprofits.

Currently Four Rivers Housing Opportunities, Inc. offers a Marysville Home Ownership Pilot Program and the NCK Housing Opportunities, Inc. recently expanded its NCK Home Ownership Pilot Program. For more information on either program, visit

This article appeared in the July 2019 NCRPC Newsletter.


NCK Home Ownership Pilot Program Had Positive Results

Home Ownership Program LogoHelping make home ownership more affordable was one goal of the NCK Home Ownership Pilot Program that assisted home buyers this past year in Cloud and Mitchell counties.

The program officially launched in April 2018. It assisted home buyers with down payment and closing cost assistance in the purchase of 26 homes — 16 in Mitchell County and 10 in Cloud County. The total value was $3.2 million, with $260,900 coming from the pilot program.

Primary objectives of the pilot program were to help make home ownership more affordable, be a catalyst for first time home buyers, benefit employers in recruiting and retaining employees, reduce employee time spent commuting to work, and market the program to alumni considering a move to live closer to friends and family.

An award from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation of Logan, Kansas, assisted in the creation of the loan and grant pool. NCRPC provided program administration led by Debra Peters, NCRPC Program Manager.
Of the home buyers who used the NCK Home Ownership Pilot Program, 39% bought their first home, 31% took a new job in the last year, and 25% moved from outside of the NCRPC 12-county service area. Nearly 60% of the home buyers reported graduating from a high school located in the NCRPC region. In addition, 25 children were either new to the local schools or will be entering school within the next five years.

“One goal of the pilot project was to test whether the use of a housing incentive would be a catalyst for people to stake roots in our region and we were pleased with the results,” Peters said. “The two biggest impacts we saw were with employment and schools.”

The results of this project will be used to launch an updated version of the pilot program in Ellsworth and Lincoln counties, pending funding. Future plans include the development of a regional home ownership program.

This article appeared in the March 2019 NCRPC Newsletter.

Pilot Home Ownership Program Helps Beloit Home Buyer

Home Ownership Program LogoBuying a home became feasible a little sooner than planned for one new homeowner thanks to a two-county pilot project of the NCK Home Ownership Program.

The program, which offers down payment and closing cost assistance to home buyers in Cloud and Mitchell counties, launched this Spring. NCRPC Business Finance Director Debra Peters manages the program.

Stephanie Simmons utilized the program to purchase a home in Beloit in July. She has lived in the county for nine years but most recently had been renting. Simmons, who serves as Executive Director of the Mitchell County Regional Medical Foundation, says the pilot program was a critical factor in her ability to purchase a home this summer.

The Pilot NCK Home Ownership Program was a factor in Simmons’ ability to purchase a home this summer.

“I am a very budget oriented person and don’t make quick or hasty decisions financially,” Simmons said. “I knew I wanted a home that was a forever home for my daughter and I and it just seemed a little out of reach. This program truly helped to make this more feasible and reasonable on my budget.”

Simmons says the transition to home ownership has been positive. “I feel like I am putting my money to work for me and building equity,” Simmons said. “I also feel like we are more part of a neighborhood that we can be life-long members of—making memories, making our community better, and having our own place.”

Funding requests currently have exceeded the funds available for the pilot project in Cloud and Mitchell Counties. The NCRPC also administers a similar program in Marysville. The Marysville Pilot Home Ownership Program will be accepting applications again beginning January 2. The results of the pilots will be used to develop a regional home ownership program to be launched in the future. For more information, contact Debra Peters.

This article appeared in the November 2018 NCRPC Newsletter.

NCRPC/Bank Complete Homebuyer Assistance Project

NCRPC/Wilson State Bank has completed a $20,000 project that assisted buyers in purchasing homes in Wilson, KS. The program was made possible through a FHLBank’s Joint Opportunities for Building Success (JOBS) Program award of $25,000 to the bank on behalf of North Central Kansas Community Network, Co. (NCKCN). NCRPC Business Finance Director Debra Peters prepared the application; however, the funding source is no longer available. The remaining $5,000 of the project award was granted to local restaurants to install grease traps to comply with new city requirements and to create a new housing brochure available at City Hall.

Homebuyers applied for project funds through the Wilson Housing Down Payment Assistance 0% Loan/Grant Program available exclusively from the Wilson State Bank at its Wilson location.

Project funds were used to assist in the purchase of four homes in Wilson totaling $233,600, with $20,000 coming from the FHLBank JOBS Program.

The recently completed housing project resulted in a leverage of $11.68 of local funds for each $1 of program funds and employment impact of four jobs within the City of Wilson. Geneva Myers and Irv Mitchell of Wilson State Bank facilitated the program locally.

The program was developed and administered by Peters/NCRPC and its 501(c)3 affiliate, NCKCN. Recaptured funds will become a part of the NCKCN-Four Rivers Down Payment Assistance Loan Program that is available to businesses located in Wilson, Ellsworth County, and the remaining 11-county NCRPC service area in North Central Kansas.

For more information about this or other NCRPC business finance programs, contact Debra
Peters at

This article appeared in the September 2018 NCRPC Newsletter.


Home Ownership Program Launches

Home Ownership Program LogoA new program that seeks to make home ownership more affordable is now available to home buyers purchasing a home in Cloud and Mitchell counties.

The two-county pilot project of the NCK Home Ownership Program will assist current and future residents by reducing the barriers of down payments and closing costs. The program offers a combination of a 0% down payment assistance loan of up to 10% of the purchase price ($10,000 limit) and closing cost grant of up to 2.5% of the purchase price ($2,500 limit) when purchasing an existing home in Cloud or Mitchell County. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis.

An award from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation of Logan, Kansas, is being used to assist in the creation of the loan and grant pool. The NCRPC will provide program administration led by Debra Peters, Program Manager.

“This initiative would not have been possible without assistance from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, Cloud and Mitchell County banks, CloudCorp Executive Director Ashley Hutchinson, and Solomon Valley Economic Development Director Heather Hartman,” Peters said.

Increasing quality of life for residents through home ownership and reducing the number of homes on the market are two project goals. According to Hartman, the launch of the NCK Home Ownership Program in Mitchell County gives her organization another tool to help employers.

“We are always searching for ways to help our employers retain quality employees and home ownership is another piece of the puzzle,” Hartman said.

Hutchinson expects the program will have many benefits in the two counties where the pilot is being launched—and regionally if the program meets expectations and is able to expand.

“The Home Ownership Program is an additional recruitment tool to attract young professionals to North Central Kansas, complimenting the existing Rural Opportunity Zones,” Hutchinson said. “More home ownership means more kids in schools, a broadening of the tax base, and healthier, happier families.”

This pilot project will test the demand for such a program. Ultimately the goal is to expand the program to other counties in the NCRPC service area that also fall within the Dane G. Hansen Foundation service area. Another pilot home ownership program was launched in Marysville in February to test demand for a similar program in the remaining NCRPC service area counties. For more information, contact Debra Peters at 785-738-2218 or or visit

This article appeared in the May 2018 NCRPC Newsletter.