As rent prices increase, Kansas City mayor introduces plan for more affordable housing

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 7:12 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Living in Kansas City hasn’t been easy for Maya Neal.

She said she’s lived in 19 different places and, even now, she’s making major sacrifices to be able to live.

“I ask the question, ‘Who is this affordable to?’ I make a living wage and I still can’t afford to have more than one bedroom for my son,” said Neal, who is also an organizer of KC Tenants.

According to Realtor.com, the average cost of rent in Kansas City is at $1,326. Median rent for a studio is over $1,000 and median rent for a two bedroom is over $1,500.

“$1,300 for rent is egregious. I’m enraged that developers charge upwards of this for rent,” Neal said.

On Thursday, Mayor Quinton Lucas presented a three-part plan that would create more affordable housing in Kansas City.

One of those ways includes a bond adding $50 million to the city’s affordable housing trust fund. It was created to build thousands of units and upgrade existing ones. So far, the fund has been able to create 500 affordable homes. The city’s overall goal is 10,000.

“The $50 million from the bond issuance will go a long ways toward that, but that is not a continuing funding source to keep the housing trust fund going. So, we will look at other proposals,” said Councilwoman Andrea Bough.

The plan will also focus on getting the homeless into permanent housing. In addition, the plan includes revising the set-aside ordinance and establishing standard incentive practices.

According to city leaders, it’s not exactly one-size-fits all when it comes to affordable housing. So, they want to make sure there’s a plan that works for everyone.

“We often hear that Kansas City is an affordable place to live and for some it is. But, we have to ensure it’s affordable for everyone,” said Councilwoman Bough.

The mayor’s plan is set to move to committee at a future date.