KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A community activist group complains city leaders in Kanas City don’t understand what affordable housing means.
They point to two new ordinances being promoted by Mayor Quinton Lucas, which are intended to promote new affordable housing developments. The group complains the ordinances keep millionaire developers in mind more than people in need. Part of those plans set aside a small percentage of housing for low-income families.
Costs need to come down, according to the group KC Tenants, which has stumped for better housing options for years. Representatives from that group staged a virtual media events on Tuesday.
KC Tenants calculate the mayor’s concept of affordability at $1,368 per month.
Sabrina Davis, a KC Tenants activist, is concerned with the mayor’s plans. Davis and others complain that these ordinances will exclude the neediest people. The ordinances define the median household income in Kansas City, Missouri at roughly $97,000. Using federal criteria, that means a low level of household income locally comes out to $56,252 annually.
“We’re living paycheck to paycheck, social security check to social security check. There’s no room for a rent increase that doesn’t result in me being homeless again,” Davis said.
KC Tenants conducted a survey of more than 700 Kansas City renters, who say they’re paying around $1,400 in rent, on average. 97% of responses to that survey disagree with the mayor’s definition of what’s considered affordable.
On Tuesday evening, Anne Jordan, Lucas’ director of policy, told FOX4 the city is merely following HUD guidelines as it works to create more affordable housing options.
The Housing Authority of Kansas City agrees with KC Tenants complaints. Edwin Lowndes, that agency’s executive director, said he works with families who report as little as $12,000 in annual income, and this proposal would cost them. Lowndes also said his agency has a waiting list of 14,000 names awaiting federal housing support.
“That income target the city is setting is way too high. The affordability crisis our families that are well below that, they can’t find apartments like that that meet their income,” Lowndes said.
Lucas’ ordinances were heard by city council members on Friday. They’ll be discussed again during a Wednesday afternoon city council meeting. KC Tenants leaders said they plan to attend.
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