NewsLocal NewsYour Voice


Public works employee eager to apply for KCMO's pilot housing program

Program intended to increase and assist with home ownership for city employees
housing program city employees.png
Posted at 5:16 PM, May 23, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City, Missouri, is piloting a program looking to increase home ownership for city employees, which is approximately 4,000 people.

It’s a program that’s a year and a half in the making, according to Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw, who co-sponsored a March 2024 ordinance to appropriate $750,000 of the city’s funds to this program.

“Most city employees are required to live here in the city of Kansas City, and we know that our housing stock is somewhat limited right now, and we’re hoping that this will create an opportunity as we look to combine multiple housing projects that the city is working on to make it available for city employees,” Parks-Shaw said.

According to the city, the program offers a partial forgiveness loan specifically for down payment and closing costs, in addition to offering educational opportunities for employees to learn about home ownership before and after purchasing a home.

More specifically, the property must be within Kansas City, Missouri, city limits, and the program offers up to 20% down payment assistance, not exceeding $30,000.

It also offers closing cost assistance up to $5,000.

“We are looking to prioritize those who want to live in some of our maybe marginalized or areas that we’ve had difficulty building housing,” Parks-Shaw said. “We are prioritizing some of our areas, the third and the fifth district, and that was something that the mayor really pushed for as well, to make sure that we can start to see more housing actually going up in our third and fifth districts."

It’s something KCMO Public Works employee Daisy Dixon is looking forward to. In fact, she wrote a letter of support for the ordinance back in March.

She’s been living in KCMO for over 20 years, but for the majority of them, she’s found herself in apartments.

“Living in apartments, now that I have grandchildren, it's just being able for them to just run and play like I did in the rural Arkansas,” Dixon said. “When buying a home, the down payment, closing costs and other related costs can kind of prohibit that home ownership.”

Dixon knows all about what it takes to make a safe space for family.

It’s what she did Thursday when she helped set up the annual Public Works Picnic for Public Works Week.

“It's just recognizing Public Works, all the things that employees do,” Dixon said. “It's just kind of like family coming together.”

Dixon sees this program as a chance for her work family to be on the other end of service.

“I recognize the work that we do is giving back to the community, ‘cause a lot of things when we put in sidewalks, we put in streets, what have you,” Dixon said. “It’s giving life back to the city when we do those improvements.”

In the same way, Parks-Shaw says she hopes this program will give life to the city’s housing stock, which she says is ‘somewhat limited’ right now.

“I think it’s a win-win for everyone when we’re able to assist our employees with being homeowners, and it will also benefit the city overall,” Parks-Shaw said.

The Mayor Pro Tem also noted that the city’s housing department plans to track its progress in the coming months by checking in with applicants and working with their corresponding Human Resource departments.

As for Dixon, she’s hoping one day she can have a picture-perfect home not just for her biological family, but her work family as well.

“Sometimes, if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, those particular populations might not be able to come up with a large amount,” Dixon said. “[The program] is a good thing, I think, for the citizens. For those who want that 'American Dream.’”