KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jennifer McCartney founded Kansas City Heroes back in 2015. The organization helps people in many different situations, including those who are homeless.
That’s how McCartney met a woman named Izzy.
“Every week we go around town and have a homeless picnic. One of our stops is where Izzy would be,” McCartney said.
It was the same for Alina Heart, who works and volunteers with local outreach organizations.
“I had seen Izzy in various spots around town,” she said.
Both said they were devastated to learn about a deadly fire at a homeless camp under Interstate 70 near the Benton Boulevard curve last Thursday. One person died in the blaze.
McCartney and Heart learned the victim was Izzy through talking with their network of people who work to help the unhoused.
“My reaction, I was just horrified when I found out,” Heart said.
“She was very cheerful and upbeat woman,” McCartney said.
McCartney said the root of the houseless problem in the city is there just aren’t enough beds to help them all.
“That’s it. That’s the story,” she said. “The city needs to continue to work and work more with all of these groups.”
Kansas City officials are aware of the problem. Just last week, city officials talked about its goal for 10,000 new affordable housing units over the next five years. Leaders also talked about the Lotus Care House Navigation Center.
“We just recently approved the creation, the transition of a hotel to a transitional housing facility,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “It’s a 40-room hotel that now serves homeless people and gets homeless people off the street. Provides wraparound services and all the support that they need.”
For now, McCartney said through KC Heroes, they hope to keep the unhoused safe.
“I don’t t want to lose any more friends,” she said. “I’m just sick of it.”