KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City leaders say they’ve developed a comprehensive plan to end homelessness.
With Zero KC, a 5-year plan from the city’s Houseless Task Force, Kansas City hopes to not only end homeless in the city but throughout the region.
City leaders said Thursday some of the initiatives are already underway. Clean Up KC started this month. The program employs homeless individuals to beautify Kansas City neighborhoods.
The city is also working to establish year-round low barrier emergency shelters, open to anyone, so no one will have to live on the streets.
“This year I’m confident we’ll be able to repeat what we did last year,” said Josh Henges, KC’s houseless prevention coordinator. “It may not be in exact same place, but we’ve got nonprofit partners that are opening their doors. Right now we’re figuring the space we need, the number of beds and the locations where we will put these places.”
Kansas City leaders said they’ve helped about 500 families since June 1 through the Right to Counsel program, which provides legal assistance and rental aid to prevent evictions.
When individuals are evicted, they often become part of our houseless community,” said Jane Brown, Kansas City Housing Director.
“And if we can slow down the eviction rate, eliminate the eviction rate, think of all those individuals who will have somewhere else to go or will be able to stay where they’re living. They will not have to be part of our unhoused community on the streets.”
In 73 cases, as of Sept. 1, they’ve reached successful agreements to keep families in their homes or move them into new homes.
The Kansas City Council must still approve the full Zero KC strategic plan. Much of it involves better use of federal money allocated to address homelessness.
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