Homeless population drifting into residential areas, becoming a growing problem in KC

Published: Mar. 13, 2023 at 9:32 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - A Kansas City resident is speaking out after he found a homeless man sleeping on his front porch.

It comes as unsheltered people moving into residential neighborhoods is becoming a growing and alarming issue in the Metro.

Days after he found a man sleeping on his front porch, it’s still hard for Jason Carter–Solomon to come to grips with someone coming on his property and invading his privacy.

“I told my daughter to run to the truck and get off the porch because I didn’t know who it was,” said homeowner Jason Carter-Solomon. “It was an unhoused individual, unfortunately, that found their way onto my private side porch and slept for a period of time.”

Carter–Solomon isn’t the only one. There have been other victims in his neighborhood.

Ring camera footage from a house down the street captured a homeless man trespassing and stealing.

“It appears to be more prevalent,” he said. “Normally, it is a situation where they are on business property or commercial property. What’s startling is the fact that it’s a private residence.”

According to Shelter KC Executive Director Eric Burger, COVID-19 has played a significant role in homeless camps drifting to residential areas.

“Those camps had not grown to that side before the pandemic because they would always be enforced,” Burger said. “But, they stopped enforcing it because of the pandemic. So, then the camps grew. When they went back to the enforcing it recently, it then pushed people back into residential neighborhoods and it’s worse because the homeless population has grown since the start of the pandemic.”

Burger said there is no shortage of beds at shelters for the homeless. The larger issue is mental health.

“It isn’t about do we have enough beds, but there is a need for more specialized beds,” Burger added. There is a need for beds for people who are coming out of the hospital, but it’s not an issue that people don’t have a choice to go somewhere. That choice is here.”

Carter–Solomon is hoping city leaders can find a solution that includes helping those in need and providing protection for taxpayers.

“It’s hard not to have compassion for your fellow citizen,” he added. “We must work together as a community to provide workable and realistic solutions. However, everyone deserves to feel safe. That individual could have had a weapon.”

Carter–Solomon’s vehicle was broken into four times over the last year and twice within a two-week span, but he’s committed to finding a solution and refuses to let criminals run him away from his neighborhood.