As Westport, City Hall homeless camps remain, KC mayor looks for safer solution

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City’s project to get the homeless off the streets and into jobs and housing is coming to an end, but activists say there’s hope for the future. 

After a machete attack Monday near the homeless encampment outside City Hall, Mayor Quinton Lucas has an idea on safety, too. 

On Tuesday, Lucas toured the Hope Faith Winter Dorm in Kansas City. 

“We’re able to surround them with a team,” Hope Faith Winter Dorm Shelter Manager Jennifer Russell said.

Russell said they’re currently housing 54 adults and 26 children. Families stay in a hotel room with food, running water and a place to sleep.

It puts a pause on the fight to survive on the street so that staff can teach them basic life skills like how to use a toilet and mastering email and job applications. They also provide health care from mental to dental. 

A Heart to Heart International nurse is on hand 40 hours a week. In the last four months, she’s saved several people from illnesses that could have become life-threatening if not treated. 

Seven families have moved from the hotel to permanent housing — and that’s the goal, if it’s not finding other resources like a shelter or mental health care. 

With roughly 2,000 people experiencing homelessness in Kansas City, Russell knows we’ve got a long way to go.

But funding for this project runs out at the end of April. 

“Yes, it’s going to take a long time, and no, it’s not going to be easy, but yes, it’s very worth it because these are individuals and humans we’re talking about,” Russell said.

FOX4 asked the mayor about a timeline for the homeless encampments at City Hall and in Westport. He said he doesn’t know. Lucas said the people he’s talked to there are open to help, they just don’t know where to go.

Aside from several resources available right now, Lucas talked about scaling up the Hope Faith dorms by about 500% and building something safe and sustainable for the homeless on city land.

“Providing toilet facilities, water,” Lucas said. “The city owns the land now, and it’s across from Hope Faith.”

Safety is also top of mind. 

The video above shows two people fighting in the street — one holding a machete. We’re told they both live in the the homeless camp outside City Hall.

“It troubles me that we have blood splattered outside of City Hall because there was a machete attack,” Lucas said.

Lucas said the dorms and safer encampments are a good solution where security and metal detectors keep the peace. 

In the meantime, he’s encouraging people at the camps to self-police: discard the weapons and stop the violence. 

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