Kansas City moms living with kids in poor conditions feels preyed upon because they’re desperate

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- By any standard the house on Jackson Avenue in Kansas City is a mess. The roof is sagging, the paint is peeling, there are holes everywhere.

Take a look inside and wires are hanging from the ceiling, almost every outlet is exposed and the refrigerator doesn't close without the help of a bar placed between the door handles.

Yet, the house rents for $1,400 a month. It's run by a church as transitional housing for the homeless. Nine children and four adults live there and they are not happy about it.

"I keep my kids in my room," said Lashell Foster. "It's kind of sad because they want to be out but it's not safe for them to walk around the house."

According to the lease, the landlords are Kenneth "Sasteh" Mosley -- a minister at a Midtown church -- and his wife Kelley Ramey Mosley.

The Mosleys work with Tony Caldwell, another Kansas City minister who was recently successfully sued by Missouri's Attorney General for tricking poor people into buying slum housing.

Mom Lakendra Johnson said she feels she's being taken advantage of because she's poor and desperate.

"I'm grateful for being out of my situation, but I'm back in another situation and this time I'm being robbed," Johnson said.

What type of social service agency would recommend a transitional house as in bad a shape as this one? Johnson said she was told about the home by an employee of the Kansas City, Missouri School District's transitions program.

When she complained about the condition of the home, someone from the school district promised to look into it, but weeks later no one had, she said. We tried to ask Kansas City Public Schools about the house, but never got a call back. However, shortly after we called the school district, the renters told us someone from the district finally visited the house and apologized for recommending it.

Worried about the safety of the children living inside, FOX 4 reported the house to the city codes department. Within a few hours, a codes enforcement officer was at the property. He found 28 violations.

We asked the landlord Kenneth Mosley about why he would rent such a dangerous place to families with children. He told us it may be bad, but it was safer than the places where many of them had been living previously. He said he regularly fixed up the house on his day off.

"I have all the receipts for all the work I've done," Mosley said.

But the families we spoke with said they had never even met him. Mosley said he felt $1,400 a month was a fair price for the home because the families he rents to are high-risk tenants and he could suffer financially. Mosley didn't appear concerned when we asked him about the risk to the children living in a home as unsafe as his.

Shortly after the city cited Mosley for the home's code violations, he evicted all three families. They are now living out of their cars or with other family member while they wait for public housing to have an opening -- but that could take months. If you can help, please contact us at FOX 4 Problem Solvers.