KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Kansas City is receiving a huge chunk of change from the federal government to help solve the issue of homelessness.
Last month the city announced a new initiative to create a “tiny homes village” to house some homeless people. It will be funded, at least in part, by the federal grant for $8.3 million dollars.
The tiny home village is set to have a ground breaking next month, but it’s location has yet to be announced.
Kansas City’s homelessness problem has been top of mind for Mayor Quinton Lucas since the beginning of the year when a tent city popped up outside city hall.
A temporary solution for that was putting those people, and hundreds more, in hotel rooms for 90 days until a long term solution is found.
One of the proposed long-term solutions is building a community of easy-to-construct tiny homes.
“This $8.3 million allows us to do a number of things: investing in a tiny homes village for those experiencing homelessness, and allowing us to get more counseling and healthcare for those experiencing homelessness,” Lucas said.
Lucas wants Kansas City to be one of America’s first cities to really solve the homeless problem with real solutions.
“What I love is that we’re considering innovation. I think that that is an awesome thing. But I do think that we need community collaboration and to start talking about it more, and we should not just be throwing a bag of cash at the first thing that somebody brings to our doorstep,” Chris Stout, who has worked with Kansas City’s homeless population for almost 15 years, said.
Stout is one of the founders of the Veterans Community Project, a non-profit dedicated to housing homeless veterans in tiny homes. He now works for Hope Faith, helping houseless people get connected to resources.
“I do believe that tiny structures or small structures are an answer,” Stout said. “But I do not think that these pallet houses are a good fit for Kansas City. Or those in the Midwest.”
But they do not have the typical insulation of the more-permanent tiny homes used by Veteran’s Community Project.
The city wants to fund 140 of the Pallet beds, with 24/7 security on site, as well as medical personnel and volunteer services.
“From my experience, I know what it took to do Veteran’s Community Project, it was millions upon millions of dollars,” Stout said.
Stout fears the city may be jumping into the project too fast without realizing what the real costs.
“I feel like that burns through that grant within the first year,” he said.
However, Stout is cautiously optimistic that the city will find the right solution.
“I do truly believe that Mayor Lucas‘s office, that that is his goal. Let’s find a real solution,” Stout said.