Airbnb donates $15K for Choose Topeka program that pays moves to capital city

Local News

TOPEKA (KSNT) – Home renting app Airbnb has donated $15,000 to the Choose Topeka program that pays people to move to the capital city, the Greater Topeka Partnership announced Thursday.

Airbnb’s cash injection signals a national partnership with the Choose Topeka program after it was extended into 2021. The funds are intended to give potential Choose Topeka applicants free housing while they visit the area to tour neighborhoods and jobs.

“As some consumers think through relocating, local, hosted stays enabled by Airbnb provide a fantastic option to explore neighborhoods before making a decision,” said Barbara Stapleton, vice president of business retention and talent initiatives at GTP. “Through this partnership, potential residents will be able to ‘try before they buy,’ prior to making the commitment to the Choose Topeka program – and can truly experience what life could look like here if selected.”

The Choose Topeka program launched in 2019 through the Go Topeka division of GTP, and offers a cash incentive for anyone who moves to Topeka for a full-time position. Eligible recipients have to buy or rent a home in Shawnee County within a year of being hired or moving to the area.

Remote employees can also nab the incentive if they move to Shawnee County while working remotely for a company outside the area.

The money comes in five ways:

  • $10,000 for renting in the first year
  • $15,000 for a home purchase
  • Go Topeka and the Joint Economic Development Organization match 50% of funds given by the applicant’s new employer, up to $15,000.
  • If a Choose Topeka candidate moves to a home in a Jimmy John’s delivery zone, the sandwich shop will also add a $1,000 bonus.

Remote workers get up to $5,000 for renting in the first year, or $10,000 to buy a home.

To date, GTP said 40 people with an average $85,000 annual salary have been accepted into the Choose Topeka program. After it originally launched, it gained national and international interest.

To apply for the Choose Topeka program, click here.

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