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Emergency Response HEAL grants are intended to bring rural downtown buildings back from likely demolition or collapse and rehabilitate them into productive use as spaces for new or expanding businesses, childcare, housing, arts and culture, or entrepreneurship. In 2023, the Kansas Legislature and Governor Kelly approved an annual allocation of $500,000 for Emergency Response HEAL projects, establishing a rolling deadline program that can be quickly reviewed and awarded to stabilize a building at risk of collapse. 


Buildings that are at risk of imminent loss, that are causing damage to surrounding downtown buildings, and/or have significant damage due to fire, storms, wind, etc. are eligible projects for Emergency HEAL. A maximum of $100,000 will be awarded per community. If there is more than one building affected due to an event, the city or another local organization can apply for the maximum of $100,000 to save more than one building. There is a 1:1 match required for this grant (Example: $100,000 cash match required for a $100,000 grant award).


A private building owner MUST have an eligible local partnering support organization APPLY for the grant on their behalf. This organization will commit to supporting the project through the fiscal administration of the grant funds (distributing the payments to the building owner), tracking the bi-annual financial reports, and ensuring that the building owner is on track with program deadlines. The applicant will also designate a primary point of contact for all projects under the grant, meaning if there are multiple buildings included, Commerce will be working with this one point of contact who will help manage communications between the various building owners and Commerce.


Eligible supporting and applicant organizations include: 

· Designated Kansas Main Street Programs

· Economic Development Corporations or Chambers of Commerce

· Cities 

· Counties

· Schools

· 501(c)3 or 501(c)6 organizations 

· Local Community Foundations

· Tribal Nations



  • Buildings that are at risk of imminent collapse or have been severely damaged due to water, fire, wind, storms, another building collapse, or a previously unknown structural issue. 
  • Buildings must be in the downtown of a rural community.
  • Properties must be in cities with a population of less than 50,000.
  • Buildings must be older than 50 years. Buildings do not need to be on the historic registry, but they do need to have some historical or unique significance to the community, to show why this building needs to be saved. Buildings made of cinder block, metal or another modern building material lacking any significant architectural details will not be strong candidates for this grant.
  • Buildings that are in such condition due to the neglect of the current owner are not eligible. This is intended for buildings that have experienced a sudden loss or destruction. For example, A building owner knew that the roof was leaking but did not address the issue for several months, causing the roof to cave in. This building owner would not be an eligible applicant unless they are willing to sell the building to another owner willing to rehabilitate and properly maintain the building. They would likely need to wait until the next regular HEAL round otherwise. 
  • If the current building owner has owned the property for more than 5 years, they must provide proof they have invested in keeping the building in good condition prior to the damaging event to be considered for emergency funding. Receipts or documentation of contractor paid invoices would meet this requirement.
  • Projects must show potential for reuse and revitalization as economic drivers in the community.
  • The awarded project can include funding from any state or federal source, as long as there is no duplication of benefit. Examples include: Community Development Block Grant, Community Service Tax Credit Program, USDA Rural Development, State Historic Preservation Office programs or Network Kansas programs. 
  • Projects must incorporate Main Street Design Standards and follow local ordinances and code for rehab/construction/façade improvements. 
  • Award recipients are required to sign a contract agreeing to the conditions of the program.
  • Projects must begin construction no later than 4 months after grant award notification with construction complete in 24 months with a tenant in place in 30 Months. Building must be occupied and pass any local occupancy permit or local permitting inspection requirements. NOTE: Site cleanup, removal of debris, and demolition do not qualify as construction.
  • No more than one HEAL grant may be awarded to any city.
  • Work to stabilize the building immediately following a disaster is eligible, and can count toward the match within 4 months of the application submission date. 
  • Work previously completed prior to the 4 month stabilization window is not eligible for match for this grant program.


  • The intent of this program is to bring this building into use by the end of the grant term, which is 30 months. 
  • The use of the building must be for one of the following: new or expanding businesses, childcare, healthcare, housing, arts and culture, or entrepreneurship.
  • In the application, the final intent of use of the building must be identified, however, the specific tenant must be identified by one year from award date, or occupants of the space must be identified and committed to by the 50% mark of construction completion. The second payment of the grant will not be paid until the business plan, proforma, and tenant commitment letter are provided, no later than one year from the date of the contract signing date. 
  • If the building was occupied at the time of the damage, it is eligible, however, an insurance claim, evaluation, and funding from insurance must be included as part of the project match.

Required Supporting Materials with the Application

  • A structural engineering report must be provided showing that the building can be saved, or equivalent from an architect.
  • Written estimates by a licensed contractor are required. Quotes must include supply cost estimates, labor cost estimates, and a detailed list of work to be done.  Quotes that also demonstrate that the project will be completed by the HEAL deadline are also preferred.
  • Pro-forma showing all sources and uses on the project, and a business plan for operation of the building after completion of construction.
  • A 1:1 cash match (minimum) and proof of matching funds from the building owner.
  • A letter signed by both the applicant and the building owner that confirms commitment by both parties to the project. This is required, and projects that are submitted without this information will not be considered.

Eligible Building Grant Project Expenses
Masonry, insulation, foundations, roofs and guttering, fire stairs, windows, doors, chimneys, walls, ceilings, floors, interior stairs, elevators, lighting and fixtures, electrical wiring, data and communication, wiring (not including equipment), HVAC systems and components, plumbing systems, fire suppression sprinkler systems, and ADA accessibility solutions. This list is not exhaustive. Project expenses not listed here are at the discretion of the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Commerce for eligibility under the grant. Up to 5% of the grant award may be retained by the applicant organization for project administration expenses.

Ineligible Building Grant Project Expenses
Professional services (architect and engineering fees), acquisition costs, or leasing contracts. This list is not exhaustive. Grant funds are to be utilized for the physical construction of the project.

Building Grant Award Amount
Up to $30 per square foot of the total building space, not to exceed $100,000 per project.


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