Topeka, KS

Will You Move to Topeka, Kansas for $15,000?

Jade-Ceres Violet D. Munoz

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If you’re thinking of moving anywhere in the US, consider Topeka, Kansas. After all, they are willing to pay people to move there.

The capital city of Kansas is looking to bolster its talent pool, economy, and population by offering people to move to Topeka with an initiative that grants as much as $15,000. The goal of the Choose Topeka program is to get talented individuals to live and work in the city and be committed to its future.

The program also aims to assist recruiters who are currently trying to fill open jobs. According to the Kansas City Star, the number of job openings available across the country has outpaced the number of people looking for work for more than a year.

The program is a combined effort between Topeka, Shawnee County, and the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO). In total, the group has committed to provide $300,000 for around 40 to 60 new residents in the program’s first run.

The return on investment of the initiative is based on the economic impact of an average worker moving to the county, making $60,000 per year. On average, for every $5,000 provided in incentives, the benefit will be ten times that amount. The economic impact from the total incentives investment after the first year is projected to be over $2.14M and by the fifth year, totals $11.38M.

"Choose Topeka was created with the intention of investing in employees to live and work in Topeka & Shawnee County, so that we may foster an 'intentional community,' one of community support builders," said Barbara Stapleton, vice president of Business Retention and Talent Initiatives for GO Topeka.

The incentive is performance-based and will only kick in a year after the candidate has moved and resided in the community. Eligibility requirements are: 1) Purchase or rent a home for a primary residence, in Shawnee County within a year of hire/move; 2) Be eligible to work in the US; 3) Move to Topeka for a full-time position; 4) Be employed by an employer who will participate in matching funds.

The incentive is up to $10,000 in funds for renting in the first year and up to $15,000 in funds for a home purchase. Moving costs to move to a one- to two-bedroom apartment is estimated to cost between $4,000 to $7,000. Meanwhile, for a three- to four-bedroom home, it ranges between $10,000 to $16,000 -- depending on the distance and location. For those intending to purchase a home in the area, the median cost for a house in Topeka is $128,000.

The program also covers remote workers. “To those remote workers looking at this program with interest, let me be the first to say we’re happy to welcome you to our vibrant, growing community and we’re excited to provide you with the resources to help you start your best life here in Topeka,” said Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla.

To be eligible for the program, remote workers will need a job outside Shawnee county. There is a limit of one relocation incentive per household and a minimum 3-month waiting period. GO Topeka said candidates will need to have proof of previous residence or rental agreement and proof of salary or a benefits package. Remote candidates will only receive $5,000 in assistance for renting in the first year and $10,000 in funds for a home purchase.

Topeka has a lot to offer for potential residents. Topeka’s cost of living index is 91.7, more than 10% below the national average for cities. This means life, in general, is more affordable. Topeka and Shawnee County have more than 100,000 jobs, which makes up 38% of total jobs in Northeastern Kansas.

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