An annual Kansas City survey shows 25% of all residents have reported taking a second job, working more hours and using credit cards to pay for rent or their mortgage. During Mayor Quinton Lucas’ first State of the City address last night, he says the city will work to better leverage its funding resources to provide more affordable housing.
“One of the biggest divides in wealth between east side and west side in Kansas City, between black and white in Kansas City, relates to the dealt between home ownership in our city. We’re not allowing for wealth creation enough in the inner city of Kansas City, Missouri and we’re not doing enough to help support lending in our inner cities,” he says.
Lucas says several recent meetings with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department have led to Kansas City getting nearly $14 million in regional funding for local homelessness and housing programs. He says the city needs to ensure adequate housing and housing conditions in every part of Kansas City.
“When we think about economic development, it isn’t just a strip mall, it isn’t just a three-story building somewhere. It’s about providing new affordable housing for families,” he says. “It’s about providing jobs for people in our neighborhoods. It’s about providing funds to help support rehabilitation of our significant single-family stock in Kansas City, which importantly we cannot forget. New multi-family housing is something we see all the time. We’re talking about maintaining our neighborhoods and doing that in every part of Kansas City.”
Lucas, who grew up poor in Kansas City and was homeless part of the time, says housing security affords citizens the chance to better their lives.
“This is key and central to every part of economic development policy,” he says. “Everyone sleeps somewhere. We need to make sure that when we talk about housing, it isn’t just advocates at city hall. It’s us making sure we care about the homeless. It’s us making sure that we care about the housing and secure. It’s us making sure that when we talk to schools and we talk to businesses, we’re seeing that the core reason sometimes that there may not be the success that we want is because of our own failures and policy at city hall and the state Capitol.”
Lucas, who was elected last summer, says the city has made great strides in housing quality, but more work needs to be done.
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