Questions remain as city leaders discuss status of hotels housing homeless in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City is 20 days into a commitment to secure 500 hotel rooms for people experiencing homelessness for 90 days. In a special meeting on housing, city leaders heard from the unhoused community. 

“Stability is ground zero for how we get to where we need to go, creating stability means opportunity for everyone there,” a representative from the KC Homeless Union said before members of the City Council Housing Committee. 

The foundation becoming rocky for some people like the Hunter Family. The Hunters had been living at the Econo Lodge on Taney Road. The city wants to move them and a handful of others to hotels further away from jobs they already landed in walking distance. 

The city said this hotel was too expensive and they had heard complaints from a few guests. 

“We are thrilled to hear people are getting jobs,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said. “The city has already been relocating those folks and we will continue to make sure there are opportunities for them at hotels and that’s why we have contracts or getting there with different hotel groups.” 

Lotus Care House is a newly formed nonprofit. The group has now assumed the role of managing the hotels for the city. They are partnering with Lotus Hospitality Group, a hotel development company who owns at least one of the hotels being used to help house people in need.

In a presentation, the group said the city would have 350 access to rooms and should expect to pay between $40 to $65 for each room per night. 

 The group released a list of the hotels that will be used to help temporarily house people. Some hotels are in Grandview, a couple are in Downtown KC, but the majority of them are near the airport.

FOX4 has spoken to people who say this change is a burden because they have already landed jobs near their original hotel placements. 

“As we’re coming on board to learn more about each individual situations, we want to make accommodations where appropriate,” Alfredo Palacol, Executive Director of Lotus Care House said. “We understand the movement is disruptive to folks and we’re learning and will work out ways to accommodate.” 

Some already employed like Takishia Ford hope the city and Lotus House will follow through on the promise of stability for three months. 

“The way I saw this was a model for us to succeed,” Ford said. “For them to renege and tell us we don’t care if you have a job here, we want you over there…we’re you not honest from day one?” 

The city manager and the mayor announced Kansas City would soon be home to a ‘tiny home’ village.  

City leaders hope to build a group 64 square feet air-conditioned homes provided by a Seattle-based company, with options for larger models for families. The location has not been announced. 

“Basically, we’re creating a tiny homes village that has case workers on site 24 hours a day, security 24 hours a day has a medical office on site,” Houston DeFoe, Co-Founder and President Merging KC said. 

This is a part of the city’s solution to help people experiencing homelessness. The plan is to use these shelters as transitional housing creating a centralized location where groups can offer support services. Leaders said the cost is significantly lower than using hotels. 

“The question then becomes what do you do with the people in hotels,” City Manager Brian Platt said. “We’re going to try to move them into these locations as much as possible in a safe respectful humane way because this is a more permanent and sustainable model. This is there for as long as they need it.” 

City leaders plan to start with 150 of these shelters that they say can be assembled in minutes. 

Officials didn’t give the details of where they plan to put the tiny home village, but they say they plan to announce the details in the next few weeks. 

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