KANSAS CITY, Mo. — After sleeping outside of City Hall since January, the Kansas City Homeless Union has come to an agreement with city leaders to end their protest and leave City Hall grounds.
The group had been occupying City Hall’s front lawn demanding to be a part of the discussion for how to help the unhoused population in the city.
Buses from Hope Faith began taking people who were living outside to area hotels, Devonte Baze was one of them.
“It feels amazing I won’t have to be cold anymore,” Baze said.
Devonte Baze has been outside for six years since he was released from jail. He will spend the night in a hotel room.
“It was hard to find a place to live, it was hard to find a place to work a stable job that I know I could fall back on,” Baze said.
After several meetings, the KC Homeless Union and city leaders have come to an agreement to help address the homeless problem in the city. There are at least 170 groups of tents spread throughout the city in different areas where people are living outside.
The short-term solution to get people off the streets will designate at least 500 hotel rooms across the city to give people a safe place to sleep and live. City council gave the city manager the green light to find out how much the rooms costs and how to pay for them then present his findings to council. City leaders say workers and volunteers will go out to camps to spread the word about help available.
“I think that what we’ve seen out of this is an even clearer template of how we can identify with people, how we can speak to them and make sure those opportunities are available I’m going to continue to make sure we scale this up,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said.
City leaders also began discussing how to use land bank properties to develop into affordable housing for people.
City leaders will also plan to study homelessness to understand the scope of the problem and where people have experienced barriers to jobs. Both pieces of legislation have been referred to the Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee.
“That’s the beginning and the first step of resolving this issue or eradicating it,” Qadhafi, KC Homeless Union Leader said. “I will continue to be there to press prime and push to help do better by the homeless population.”
The KC Homeless Union said this is a step toward a permanent solution.
Housing advocates have been pushing for a housing trust fund that would permanently fund affordable housing.
Qadhafi said most people will leave city hall in the next few days. The city is also looking at finding a place where people who prefer to be outside can stay safely with access to running water.