Blog Archives

Results Positive for Home Ownership Pilot Program in Washington County

Financial incentives offered through the Washington County Home Ownership Pilot Program assisted in the purchase of 10 homes in the county from June to December 2022.

The program provided home buyers with down payment and closing cost assistance. The total value of the 10 homes purchased was just over $1.9 million, with $125,000 coming from the pilot program.

Grant funds for the program were provided through a contribution from the Patterson Family Foundation. Loan funds were provided by the North Central Kansas Community Network, Co. (NCKCN)-Four Rivers Business Loan Pool. North Central Regional Planning Commission (NCRPC) administered the program. NCKCN is an affiliate of the NCRPC.

“We were grateful to have the generous support of the Patterson Family Foundation helping to make this program possible,” said NCRPC Home Ownership Program Manager Keegan Bailey. “Strengthening rural housing is a key to success for our communities.”

Survey results of home buyers who accessed the program indicate positive local impacts.

“Employment was listed as the greatest reason for moving at 87%,” Bailey said. “We were also pleased to see a high percentage of young home buyers with 73% of home buyers under the age of 30.”

Other notable outcomes include 93% of home buyers reported the program was a factor in their decision to purchase a home at this time, 67% bought their first home, and 67% graduated from a high school in one of the counties in the NCRPC service area — including Clay, Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Marshall, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, Saline and Washington.

Similar pilot programs have been completed in Cloud, Dickinson, Ellsworth, Jewell, Lincoln, Mitchell, Ottawa, Republic, and Saline counties and the City of Marysville. Future plans include the expansion of pilot home ownership programs to each of the remaining counties in the NCRPC 12-county service area, pending the availability of funding. Results of these pilot programs will be used to develop a permanent regional relocation program.

Learn more about the Home Ownership Program initiative.

This article appeared in the Quarter 1 2023 NCRPC Newsletter.

Peters Recognized for Service to Regional Homeland Security Councils as Fiscal Agent

image of Lisa Peters receiving Outstanding Service Award for 2022 from Kansas Emergency Management Association

Kansas Emergency Management Association President Kathleen Fabrizius (left) presented NCRPC staff member Lisa Peters (right) with the Outstanding Service Award for 2022. (Courtesy Photo)

NCRPC staff member Lisa Peters was presented the Outstanding Service Award for 2022 by the Kansas Emergency Management Association at the end of last year. Lisa is NCRPC Assistant Director and serves as Homeland Security Coordinator. The NCRPC is contracted to provide fiscal agent services to six of the Regional Homeland Security Councils in Kansas. This award recognizes exemplary service to the Homeland Security Program and the counties and communities it serves.

Homeland Security Program project investments address the planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs to help build local and regional response capabilities and encourage citizen safety and preparedness. Cybersecurity has increasingly become a focus for projects and became a major point of emphasis in 2022 for Peters and the Regional Homeland Security Councils she helps to administer.

“Unfortunately, the threat, frequency, and cost of cyber attacks for county and local public safety organizations grows every year,” Peters said. “A percentage of all of our projects are now earmarked to address cybersecurity issues. There was a learning curve as regional councils determined how best to approach the challenges, but projects are now underway with the goal of improving cybersecurity resiliency of the involved counties.”

The State and Local Cybersecurity projects are funded by grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

This article appeared in the Quarter 1 2023 NCRPC Newsletter.

Free Virtual Training Courses Now Available

Topics Cover Remote Work, Rural Grocery Stores, Nonprofits

NCRPC is now hosting free, virtual training courses covering a wide range of topics. Courses available on the training website include a remote work series and a comprehensive rural grocery training series. In addition, some recorded nonprofit board development trainings that were offered in 2021 and 2022 are also archived on the site.

These courses were made possible, in part, through a U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant awarded to the NCRPC.

Learn more and check out what is available by visiting the training site.

This article appeared in the Quarter 1 2023 NCRPC Newsletter.

Reminder: Unique Entity Identifiers (UEI) from Needed for Many Grants

Many State and Federal awards require entities to have a Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) assigned by the Federal System for Award Management website (

“The State has been rolling out new funding opportunities that have a short application window. All applicants are required to have a UEI# at the time of application,” said NCRPC Community Development Director Bri Beck. “If you think your organization will ever pursue State and/or Federal funding you should register for a UEI# as soon as possible. While the process to register for a UEI# is typically simple it can take a while to receive.”

The Unique Entity ID is a 12-character alphanumeric ID. The Federal government transitioned from using the DUNS Number to the UEI in 2022. If you already have your UEI#, make sure you are also fully registered in SAM and, that once you are registered, you do not let your account go inactive. Registration at the official SAM website is free. Do not be confused by look-alike websites offering to register on your behalf.

Recent changes have been made to enhance system security and deter fraud. has partnered with to implement multi-factor authentication for registered users. When users go to and log in, they will be asked to create a account. During initial registration, users will be asked to enter an email address. Be sure to use your existing SAM email address to create the account. Access to a working phone number (mobile or landline) is also needed to register as will send a security code.

For more information, contact the NCRPC or visit our website for assistance.

This article appeared in the Quarter 1 2023 NCRPC Newsletter.

New Clinic in Beloit Offers Health and Wellness Services

Loan Programs Assist Start-up Business

image of Astra Healthcare & Wellness, LLC

Astra Healthcare & Wellness, LLC, located at 116 E. Main Street, Beloit, Kansas, recently opened. (Courtesy Photo)

Starting a new medical clinic in rural Kansas was a project that owner Alan Curtis had thought about for some time. That dream became a reality with the opening of Astra Healthcare & Wellness, LLC located in downtown Beloit, Kansas, in January.

The clinic offers a comprehensive range of primary care services to patients including routine wellness exams, urgent care, and assisted medical weight loss. It also provides specialized services in aesthetic procedures including botulinum toxin injections, facials, and medical skin peels. A medical grade skincare line is also available.

Alan Curtis is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN). He most recently worked as a Surgical Nurse Practitioner at Mitchell County Hospital. Prior to becoming licensed as an APRN, Curtis worked for more than 15 years as an ICU nurse in larger cities including Lincoln, Nebraska; Las Vegas, Nevada; Cincinnati, Ohio; and Denver, Colorado. Raised on a farm near Smith Center, Kansas, a desire to return to his rural roots are what led him to move to Beloit in 2019.

This start-up business project was made possible through assistance from the NCK Business Down Payment Assistance Loan Program, Mitchell County E-Community Loan Program, bank financing, and investment by the owner. As a result of the project, two full-time positions were created including the owner and another full-time licensed medical professional.

Learn more about the NCRPC Business Finance program.

This article appeared in the Quarter 1 2023 NCRPC Newsletter.