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KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas, KC Homeless Union take steps to address homelessness

KCMO homelessness camp city hall
Posted at 12:00 PM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-09 09:05:26-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Mayor Quinton Lucas and Kansas City, Missouri, community organizers have been meeting all week to find solutions to address homelessness in the city.

Lucas announced Thursday that the city made progress with the KC Homeless Union.

Lucas pledged to house people who've been occupying the City Hall lawn and a part of Westport at hotels and motels within the city.

The KCMO City Council unanimously approved this resolution later Thursday afternoon.

Lucas also announced several other efforts to help people experiencing homelessness:

  • A request for proposals issuance for preference on vacant homes and land bank homes for those earning below 30% to 0% of the Kansas City area's median income;
  • City work to provide opportunities for those experiencing homelessness in job provision and city contracts for things like mowing;
  • Exploration of permanent camp locations with social services.

The new proposals outlined by Lucas will need to go through city council committees and be voted on before going into effect.

"We’ve been talking for a while, but over the last four days I think we’ve showed what were the principles of de-escalation, of working together and of communication, try to come to the best interest of everyone in Kansas City," Lucas said.

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The KC Homeless Union claimed victory Thursday after Lucas agreed to these proposals.

"We were here to be heard, and to be seen is to be heard, the city see us and they hear us," said Qadahfi, a KC Homeless Union spokesperson.

However, some at the encampment in Westport, known as Camp 6ixx, told 41 Action News that everyone wasn't included in the conversations with the city.

"The homeless union, they didn’t include anyone here in this and so it’s hard to know, like Mayor Quinton Lucas hasn’t been here," Misha Smith with the Midwest Homeless Collective said.

Lucas said these proposals are for everyone who is experiencing homelessness in Kansas City.

Demands for the city to provide more resources and solutions for people experiencing homelessness began in January after the death of 41-year-old Scott Eicke.

Eicke, who was known by the nickname "Sixx," died near East 24th Street and Woodland Avenue from cold exposure.

Weeks later, the city began to take action to provide a safe and warm shelter for people experiencing homelessness by converting the Kansas City Convention Center into a homeless shelter.

However, homelessness activists didn't believe those efforts went far enough.

Camp 6ixx, which was named after Eicke, began Valentine's Day weekend to house people as the Kansas City area dealt with dangerously cold weather. The camp has grown as a form of protest to city leaders to take more action to address the issue.

Lucas and community organizers have announced several efforts to help those in need since then.