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Number of Kansas Citians wait-listed for housing vouchers has doubled since 2021

housing authority of kansas city
Posted at 4:32 PM, Mar 29, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The number of Kansas Citians wait-listed for housing vouchers and Section 8 Housing have doubled since November 2021, according to executive director of Housing Authority of Kansas City (HAKC) Edwin Lowndes.

Housing Authority of Kansas City told KSHB 41 NEWS that as of late February, 18,500 people in Kansas City are wait-listed for housing vouchers and 10,000 people are wait-listed for Section 8 vouchers.

The number of those without secure housing in Kansas City has significantly increased since November 2021.

According to HAKC, 7,500 Kansas Citians were wait-listed for housing vouchers and 5,000 were wait-listed for Section 8 Housing in November 2021.

Lowndes attributes the increase of numbers to a few reasons.

One being the fact that those who are wait-listed continue to be wait-listed and are unable to find other viable resolutions, according to Lowndes.

Lowndes said Kansas City specifically has a lack of available one bedroom and studio apartments.

Approximately 60% of those on both wait lists are single individuals, the greatest increase in single individuals looking for one bedroom or studio apartments Kansas City has ever seen, according to Lowndes.

Lowndes said of the one bedroom and studio apartments that exist in Kansas City, turnover isn't frequent enough. He also said most residential development in the area recently has been senior and family housing.

Lowndes also noted the substantial need for housing among non-elderly individuals with no disabilities.

The need for available and affordable housing was apparent on March 25 at a HAKC housing voucher screening event.

HAKC typically selects and invites 100 to 200 families who have applied for Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) assistance and remain on the wait list to its housing voucher screening events. Those who attend are screened for eligibility and — if deemed eligible — are issued housing vouchers on the same day.

That was not the case this weekend.

According to Lowndes, only 25% of those who are invited typically attend the event. Because of this, HAKC decided to send out invites to 1,000 individuals for this session in hopes of accommodating for the typical low turnout.

Lowndes estimates 750 people showed up to the event on Saturday, a staggering 75% of people who were invited, which overwhelmed HAKC and its resources. Additionally, some individuals who were not invited nor on a wait list showed up to the event.

HAKC decided to screen individuals and take their required documents, but did not issue any housing vouchers.

Lowndes said HAKC will continue to vet through the documents and screenings to determine eligibility, and once that is complete, HAKC will invite applicants back individually or in small groups to issue vouchers.

According to Lowndes, those who were invited and are eligible will receive a voucher and those who are on the wait list and were not invited to this session will remain on the wait list until they are invited to a screening. Those who are not eligible, including those who are not on the wait list, will not be issued a voucher.