KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri, City Council voted unanimously Thursday to create a new standalone department to handle housing issues.
The Housing and Community Development Department will help with homelessness prevention, affordable housing and other issues surrounding safe and affordable housing in the city, according to a news release.
The department will begin work on June 1, according to the release.
KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas said in the release that all Kansas Citians deserve stable and affordable housing.
"With nearly 2,000 children and adults experiencing homelessness in and around Kansas City, Kansas City government understands that systemic housing issues will require more than just short-term solutions,” Lucas said. “I am proud that the City Council decisively voted today to establish a new Kansas City Housing Department, one of my key campaign promises, whose focus will be advocating for Kansas Citians who are experiencing homelessness and prioritizing the creation of affordable family housing."
The new department will have an office dedicated to working with renters on problems and finding and keeping a safe place to live.
City Manager Brian Platt said that the creation of the department means the city will have staff and resources "dedicated to eliminating homelessness, to advocate for our tenants and to better support our lowest-income families and individuals."
With advocates demanding action to protect tenants rights and deal with the homelessness crisis, the city plans to build tiny homes to serve as emergency housing and has spent nearly $9 million dollars in the past fiscal year to help with emergency shelters and rental assistance.