KANSAS CITY, Mo. — During a meeting on Oct. 28, council members from Kansas City, Missouri, are scheduled to get an update on the city’s plans to address homelessness during the winter months, when cold temperatures can threaten the lives of people without shelter.
In the meantime, the city and local service providers are working on plans to help those experiencing homelessness right now.
The City Union Mission, a homeless shelter in Kansas City, is in the thick of a capital campaign to raise $7 million to help it renovate offices, the nursery and the gymnasium at its family center into multi-use rooms to house beds overnight. Anyone can donate to the fundraiser by visiting the organization’s website.
“We’re going to be able to at least expand by about 30 percent our beds over at the Family Center,” CEO Terry Megli explained. “Here at the Men’s Center, we have nearly 300 beds. So we’re prepared and ready for those who need to get off the street and out of that life-threatening weather.”
Megli added he’s seeing an increased need from families; a trend he doesn’t see ending soon.
“We’re looking for every corner, crevice, office space to be able to put in more overnight emergency beds here for families and single women,” Megli said.
In the future, Megli said City Union Mission is looking for a new location to build a larger Family Center on a campus with transitional apartments and mental illness treatment options.
- A new Houseless Task Force will meet for the fifth time later Tuesday. On its agenda is a discussion about an extreme weather plan. The city has said it will not set up an emergency overnight shelter at Bartle Hall again this winter but has not ruled out a shelter at a different location.
- The city created a brand new Housing and Community Development Department over the summer. It is currently accepting applications for a director. The new department’s role is to prevent homelessness, support tenants, preserve and create affordable housing, among other responsibilities.
- The city partially funded its Housing Trust Fund this year. But as recently as last week, groups like KC Tenants criticized Mayor Quinton Lucas’ proposal to manage the fund, saying it did not include enough public oversight.
- This year, the city hired someone for its newly created office of the tenant advocate.
- The city began selling vacant homes from its land bank for $1 this year with the stipulation buyers renovate the homes to be used as affordable housing.
- The city is reviewing proposals from developers on how to convert larger abandoned buildings like schools, nursing homes and motels into affordable housing units.
- Redevelopment plans for Barney Allis Plaza and Parking Garage will now include an affordable housing component.
- In September, the city launched a physical Emergency Rental Assistance Center where residents in need of help paying rent and utility bills because of the COVID-19 pandemic can access federal funding.
- City council members directed City Manager Brian Platt to conduct a community needs assessment on the issues facing the houseless population, due before the end of the year. By the end of February 2022, Platt should present a strategic plan based on information from that needs assessment.
- Discussions are ongoing about where to place a village of roughly 200 tiny homes to provide temporary shelter to people experiencing homelessness.