KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) - Around 2:30 p.m. on Monday, the Kansas City, Missouri Health Department brought in Ride KC buses to act as cooling stations for the residents who live at Gabriel Tower, but only until 6 p.m. For the last few weeks, tenants have been finding a shaded spot to cool off. Tenants say this small gesture isn’t enough.
“It just feels like a sauna in there,” Gabriel Tower tenant Irene Kay said.
Tenants say they’ve been without air conditioning on and off since April. Every time the owners fix a problem, it resurfaces a few days later.
“So we could just sit here and just wait and wait, waiting, and hear stories about when they are going to get it on, or we could stand up and try to do something about it,” Gabriel Tower tenant James Stone said.
The residents of Gabriel Tower are not only protesting not having working air conditioning, they’re bringing attention to other issues like bed bugs and roaches. The health department says since January, they have been out to this complex seven times, but tenants still feel they aren’t being heard.
“Like somebody just suffocating you. Saying you don’t need to live, you don’t need to breathe. We’re going to kill you. No, no, no this isn’t working at all,” Kay said.
“We just want to be treated like people, like human beings,” Gabriel Tower tenant Trent Tyler said.
The group KC Tenants says the problem is with the property owner, Millennia.
“They’re an out-of-state corporation and they need to be held accountable for keeping people living like this. They know who they rent to and all they care about is their money,” Tara Raghubeer with KC Tenants said.
The tenants joined together and formed a union to have their collective voice be heard.
“Because we don’t want to die in this heat,” Stone said.
KCTV5 News reached out to Millennia. They say until they can get the air fixed, they’re providing this cooling station with refreshments to, “minimize the inconvenience to residents.”
Management has informed the health department the part needed to fix the air conditioning will be in by Wednesday. Most of the tenants say they will be out her protesting until it’s fixed.
KC Tenants posted on their Facebook page Wednesday evening stating that, "the appointed representatives of the Gabriel Tower Tenant Union had a powerful meeting with the corporate rep to make their union and their demands known."