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Kansas City had the highest rent hike in the United States in the past year, according to new research from Rent.
That's led to a scenario for many across Kansas City: Move out immediately or stay in housing they cannot afford.
Data compiled by Rent.com shows rents in the Kansas City metropolitan area jumped more than 16 percent within a single year. That is more than comparable places like Oklahoma City, Memphis, Minneapolis, Columbus and Detroit.
Max Sheffield-Baird was one of those people who had to make a quick decision without options. After half a year of going month-to-month, they were notified by their previous property management back in February that rent would increase by a minimum of $200.
As a single-parent juggling multiple jobs, the last thing they wanted was to be blindsided by a life-altering move, so they and their child moved into a home with a roommate.
“Had I lived alone it probably would have been a similar price, but it was halved because of the roommate,” Sheffield-Baird said. “This couldn’t have come at a better time really, for me.”
Sheffield-Baird’s story has become all too common as rent prices across Kansas City have increased.
Stephanie Winn with Metro Lutheran Ministry says this is due to a few reasons, in addition to a growing city.
“One being, the increased interest rates as well as landlords trying to recoup funds from the pandemic when their tenants were not able to pay rent throughout the pandemic. So we’ve seen a huge increase in applications,” Winn said.
Winn says there used to be a cap of six percent annual rent increase that landlords had to abide by. But event that was removed, so tenants are now seeing anywhere from 10 to 13 percent increases year after year.
And as federal funds for COVID-19 relief continues to thin out, Winn says the trajectory is dim.
“We’re going to see an increase in evictions in the next three to six months because of this. Especially on the Kansas side — dollars are dwindling,” Winn said.
Winn says more funding for affordable housing is where to start. Meanwhile, Sheffield-Baird believes it starts by defining what affordable housing even is.
“If we’re looking into other options and resources," Sheffield-Baird said. "We first need to be, 'What is reasonable for the income of the average person?'"