Kansas City’s newly formed homeless task force meets for first time as temperatures stay below freezing

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KANSAS CITY, Mo—The first homeless task force created by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas met virtually Tuesday evening.

The reality of the city’s homeless situation on display, especially as the temperatures remain below freezing. But the group says the problem is much bigger than weather.

“Unfortunately COVID has pushed a lot of people towards becoming houseless or housing insecurity and we are working to gather all those providers, large and small to look at what we can do collaboratively to address this issue,” said 5th District Councilwoman Ryana Parks-Shaw.

Shaw was appointed task force chair, officiating the meeting and helping outline goals.

She said unlike previously unsuccessful attempts at tackling the issue, this time will be different.

“I know it was a group that met for several years about 10 years ago. Many cities, many municipalities and counties are challenges with this issue,” Shaw said. “It’s going to be an uphill battle, but definitely we are committed to doing it.”

The group is comprised of more than a dozen city and community leaders and people who work for various homeless providers and outreach like those who set up the Scott Eicke Warming Center at the convention center.

The temporary warming center at the Kansas City’s Bartle Hall Convention Center is expected to close at the end of March.

While still initial stage of planning, emphasis will be placed on opportunities for homeless after the site closes, people struggling because of the pandemic and housing insecurity.

A listening session is set for two weeks to discuss more plans to move forward with long-term solutions and immediate needs within the city.

If you are interested in getting involved with the mayor’s Homeless Services Task Force, email mayorq@kcmo.org.

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