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Housing protection for domestic, sexual violence survivors moves forward

Posted at 4:48 PM, Jan 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-31 17:48:22-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A proposed ordinance that would provide housing protection for domestic and sexual violence survivors is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Soon survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence could have a better shot at finding safe, affordable housing. Wednesday, Kansas City's Housing Committee unanimously voted in favor of the proposed ordinance.

"It's an additional tool that a survivor has to access safe housing," said Kate Heinen, Coordinator of Community Engagements, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA).

MOCSA has been working to push the ordinance through. It would extend fair housing protections to those who have been victims of domestic and sexual abuse or stalking.

"We at MOCSA see people who are sexually assaulted and that experience, that crime that happened against them, directly results in them experiencing homelessness," said Heinen.

Several protections already exist for those discriminated against for race, religion, sex and more. If the full City Council approves the ordinance, those protections will apply to survivors of abuse.

"This new ordinance means that they can also file a discrimination claim downtown with the human rights commission," said Heinen.

Heinen said landlords often deny housing because they fear survivors could be a risky tenant.

"What some landlords have said is that they are concerned about that if there was violence, that that is some how something that could happen again," said Heinen.

MOCSA and other supporters of survivors said approval of the ordinance would be a step in the right direction.

"They're here to support survivors and so we're really proud of City Council leadership for making that effort," said Heinen.

The City Council planned on addressing the ordinance at Thursday's meeting, but due to the power outage at City Hall, that has been canceled.