For more information, please contact LaToya Burnett-Martinez at 785-368-3663 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The SORT Neighborhood Application is due July 31, 2020.
Fill out a paper SORT Application (must print and return to Department of Neighborhood Relations)
What Is SORT?
Stages of Resource Targeting or SORT is a neighborhood improvement program designed to increase the quality of life through public infrastructure and affordable housing investment in “Intensive Care” or “At Risk” neighborhoods of Topeka.
Read more about Topeka’s Neighborhood Health Map.
$1.7 million of the City of Topeka’s Capital Improvement Funding is dedicated to public improvements in the target neighborhood. These improvements include sidewalk replacement, curb and gutter repair, alley restorations, and other neighborhood quality of life enhancements. An additional $330,000 is dedicated through Housing and Urban Development funding for housing rehabilitation. Estimated funding indicated here is subject to change based on final authorization provided by the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and/or authorization of the City of Topeka’s Governing Body.
Through the SORT program the City provides resources to help the recipient neighborhood develop a comprehensive Neighborhood Plan that outlines the current conditions of the neighborhood, identifies goals for the future, create a future land use map, and includes neighborhood-specific elements (e.g., Infrastructure, housing, and other quality of life improvements). SORT funding allows for implementation of the priority infrastructure projects outlined in the Neighborhood Plan.
What Are the Stages & How Does It Work?
The Department of Neighborhood Relations will generally target a majority of its resources in one redevelopment area or neighborhood per year. Each redevelopment area or neighborhood will first become a Planning Target Area. With this designation, the first year is spent establishing or updating the existing Neighborhood Plan. This will also be the time when a three to six block area of the neighborhood is identified as the Target Area for funding during the following two years. A Target Area will be identified based upon its ability to show measurable impacts with the most efficient use of resources. Major economic investments will have community-wide impacts that could accelerate a redevelopment area or neighborhood through the Stages Of Resource Targeting.
Phase I – Planning Stage – Year 1
This stage is where the Neighborhood Plan is initially developed, reviewed or updated to address current neighborhood needs. The emphasis of this stage will be to identify various housing, neighborhood, community, infrastructure and economic development needs and to match them with funding options for the next two years.
Phase II – Design Stage – Year 2
At this stage, CIP funds for the repair and expansion of infrastructure will receive priority. Also, existing programs administered by the Department of Neighborhood Relations may also target the area in preparation for the Investment Stage. Homeownership and rehabilitation of existing homes will be considered during this phase. The acquisition of vacant land for infill development and dilapidated structures for demolition will be considered if potential opportunities emerge and funding is available to support these efforts.
Phase III – Implementation & Investment Stage – Year 3+
Investment of new capital will be the highlight of this phase. However, City funds will not be the only focus. Public/private partnerships that may have been developed during Phase II have the potential to attract private capital to the neighborhood during Phase III. Leveraging of City resources will be a major target during this phase. Other government capital resources, as well as those from the private sector will be pursued during the Investment Stage. During this phase, partnerships for new construction and homeownership opportunities (TOTO) will be solicited.
Who Can Apply to Become a Designated SORT Neighborhood?
Eligible neighborhoods are Intensive Care and At Risk areas with an established Neighborhood Improvement Association. Neighborhoods without an adopted Neighborhood Plan or those with a Neighborhood Plan older than 5 years will receive priority scoring. The Neighborhood Improvement Association must apply to be eligible for this designation. Applications are reviewed and scored by the Citizen Advisory Council. The Citizen’s Advisory Council’s proposed recommendation is presented and must be approved by the City of Topeka Governing Body.
Do I Qualify for Housing Rehabilitation Assistance Under the SORT Program?
If your neighborhood is in year 2 or 3 of the SORT program, you may be eligible for housing rehabilitation assistance. Priority is given to home owners and property owners within the target area of the neighborhood.
Owner Occupant Rehab Program – This program is designed to assist owner occupants of residential properties within the targeted areas in improving their properties up to $30,000.
Rental Rehab Program – This program is designed to assist owners/landlords of rental properties within the targeted areas in improving the appearance of the exterior only of their properties up to $15,000.
Voluntary Demolition Program – property owners can voluntarily have vacant buildings that are substandard, deteriorated, or dilapidated demolished. The Voluntary Demolition Program allows the property owner to retain the title to the property after the building is removed and a lien is placed on the property for the cost of the demolition. This program offers a partial grant dependent upon how the property is reused.
For more information about the Housing Rehab or Demolition programs please contact 785-368-3711 or send an email request for information.