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Different visions shared Monday night on how to fix KCMO's housing crisis

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Posted at 11:09 PM, Jun 05, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-12 08:24:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Affordable housing is a problem that's been knocking on Kansas City's doors for years.

Dr. Tracy Gunn once struggled to find safe, affordable housing for her and her children.

She now helps other moms find their own safe, affordable housing through an organization called Growing Healthy Families.

"I was once a single mom,"Dr. Gunn said. "And as I kind of journeyed through home ownership and things of that nature, I noticed that there was really not a lot of help for me. Now the rent is so high that some of the women, especially like I said mothers with children, can't afford."

Stacey Johnson-Cosby, a realtor and KC Regional Housing Alliance president has seen the affordable housing problem grow.

"I think our city is in trouble, and we are just like other places across the country. we are in the middle of a housing crisis in our city."

It's a problem with competing solutions.

“The inventory for rental housing, housing for sale, a lot of that has dwindled over the last few years and we are concerned because we tie it directly to the policies coming out of city hall," Johnson-Cosby said.

She says the owners see some KCMO city council policies that have come in reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic as hostile to owners developing housing

Johnson-Cosby believes it makes developers unwilling to build.

Diane Charity with KC Tenants says new housing is too expensive, making tenants unwilling, or unable to pay.

“We know that we can address those housing issues if they’ll let us at the table," she said.

Both agree increased more housing is the solution.

Dr. Gunn believes getting there will require not one, but two seats at the table for each side.

"How do we do that if we don't have common conversations where we're not butting our heads," Dr. Gunn said. "Because I think there are people that want to help, but we're not meeting eye-to-eye, we're not sitting down."