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KCMO City Council passes housing ordinance despite pushback from KC Tenants

KC Tenants at KCMO City Council meeting
Posted at 5:34 PM, Aug 18, 2022

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Organizers with KC Tenants, a city-wide tenant union, packed City Hall in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday, urging city leaders to not sign off on a new housing ordinance.

Despite those objections, the KCMO City Council passed Ordinance No. 220700 by an 9-4 margin, voting amid a three-minute disruption as KC Tenants members chanted their opposition to the measure.

The ordinance requires housing developers to provide at least 20% of total residential units for affordable housing.

It also requires the units set aside for affordable housing to be at least one-bedroom units or the same size as at least 25% of the units that will be built on the project site.

The definition of affordable housing will be calculated by the median family income in the Kansas City area.

KC Tenants argues that the median income calculated by developers and the city doesn't fairly represent what most KCMO tenants can afford.

Members from KC Tenants exploded into a "rent is too damn high" chant as Mayor Quinton Lucas directed the city council to continue voting.

Some people at the meeting were led out by police during the disruption.

Tiana Caldwell, a leader with KC Tenants who was arrested during the meeting, slammed Lucas after the vote.

"I helped to found KC Tenants three and a half years ago and the Mayor looked me in the face and promised he would fight for me," Caldwell said in a press release. "Now he’s selling me out. They showed me I have to fight to survive. I’ll keep fighting. I’m going to be here and they’re going to have to face me every time. I have no fear. This is WAR.”

KSHB 41 News has reached out to Lucas for comment and received this response from a spokesperson:

Today, two ordinances passed the City Council with the express intent to create more affordable housing opportunity in Kansas City. The mayor’s housing proposals will generate thousands of new and preserved units for working class and low-income Kansas Citians. He will continue to work and meet with anyone committed to generating more safe, accessible, and affordable homes in Kansas City, including anyone concerned with recent policy choices.
By law, the mayor cannot issue or direct any citations. We have to refer any questions to Kansas City Municipal Court.
Spokesperson for Mayor Lucas