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KC begins to examine affordable housing issue

Posted: 10:55 PM, Nov 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-18 04:55:41Z

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Several city officials hosted a public meeting Saturday to present proposed policies and gather input on what should change to create more affordable housing in Kansas City, Missouri.

“We're looking for something that's not just that same kind of post-World War II template for how do we do our planning and zoning,” KCMO Councilman Quinton Lucas said.

Lucas stressed this policy needs to work for the entire city.

Some of the highlights included adding 5,000 single-family homes, creating a $75 million housing development trust fund to rehab existing housing units, and increasing the amount of required percentage of affordable housing in new developments from 10 to 15 percent.

Resident Joesph Jackson, who attended the meeting, said his main concern was the high utility rates, especially when the weather shifts. 

“We cannot be a livable city if our utility costs are out of control,” he said.

Most of the homes in his neighborhood are not winterized, according to Jackson, which often cuts deeply into those residents’ monthly budgets.

“We have to begin to look at what it actually costs to live in our city, because there are people who live in my community that pay half their monthly (income), $500-$1,000, just for a small apartment,” Jackson said. “Then, you add utiliites on that. They are at 75 percent.”

Others said the city isn’t keeping up with demand.

“There aren't enough homes for all the people who want homes no matter the way they handle the ownership,” resident Barbara Weary said.

This was the first of four public meetings before the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council is expected to present a final draft of its affordable housing proposal.