Kansas City turns hotel into transitional housing for homeless people

A former Days Inn hotel in Kansas City will be converted into transitional housing for the homeless.

Kansas City City Council approved the plan earlier this month to allocate $ 400,000 towards the creation of a “Housing Navigation Center” through a partnership with Lotus Care House.

Jennifer Tidwell, acting director of the city’s housing and community development department, said in a press release that the center’s goal is to serve as a “more permanent housing-focused alternative to emergency shelters.” .

The old Days Inn at 5100 E. Linwood Blvd. will soon be reallocated to create 39 rooms for homeless people, with a focus on single women 55 and older, people with health concerns and the LGBTQ + community.

The plan for the center includes comprehensive services for residents, including health care, job placement assistance and social services, city officials said.

“The long-term goal will be to move individuals and families into permanent housing, although residents there can stay as long as needed,” according to a press release from the city outlining the plan.

City Manager Brian Platt said the $ 400,000 is planned for the center’s first year, with plans to look to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care funding for subsequent years.

“This facility will significantly increase the city’s ability to serve the homeless community here,” Platt said in the statement. “We estimate that we will be able to move 100 or more people each year from the streets to this new facility and potentially permanent housing each year.”

City Councilor Ryana Parks-Shaw added that while the latest hotel initiative is a big step forward, there is still a lot of work to be done.

A former Days Inn at 5100 E. Linwood Blvd. will be converted into transitional housing for homeless people, as approved by the Kansas City City Council. A street view image from Google Maps from May 2021 shows the area. Google maps

Extreme weather plan

Kansas City also unveiled its extreme weather plan last month to help homeless people find shelter and help as the cold sets in.

A key part of the plan is an online dashboard that will be updated daily on the city’s website to track the availability of shelters and beds throughout the city.

The dashboard, created by staff at the Data KC office, is part of the city’s new plan to increase the coordination of services for homeless people.

Tracking the capacity of shelter beds will help see trends and better prepare to help with extreme weather conditions, Platt said.

“This will create new data that will help the city, as well as all of the shelters, with both short and long term planning and resource allocation,” he said.

The plan is activated when the daytime highs drop below 32 degrees or the nightly low is below 20 degrees.

The plan includes:

  • The city’s emergency center opens a hotline to coordinate the availability of accommodation beds,
  • The RideKC offer frees up bus trips to shelters and allows people to warm up in heated buses, and
  • The city opens one or two temporary locations when the shelters reach their maximum capacity.

Community members are encouraged to lend a hand, including dropping off supplies and making donations.

A centralized drop-off point has been established at the City Union Mission Community Assistance Center at 1700 E. 8th Street.

The city’s previous efforts

Over the past year, Kansas City has invested $ 8.5 million in municipal funds and COVID-19 relief funds to address homelessness and housing insecurity in light of the pandemic, which left many more people facing financial uncertainty. Here is the full list of the city’s initiatives over the past year.

  • Homelessness Task Force Established: The task force, the first of its kind in Kansas City, was established by city council in January in hopes of developing long-term homeless policies and solutions. -abrism.
  • Strategic plan and community needs assessment: At the end of August, city council asked City Manager Brian Platt to complete an assessment of how taxpayer dollars are currently being spent on service providers. . The study aims to inform a strategic plan – expected about six months later – to meet the needs of homeless people, including prevention and intervention.
  • Small village of origin: In the first phase of the plan, the city hopes to provide at least 140 beds in 65 “pallet houses”. The transitional housing village would include on-site social services, health care and social workers available at all times of the day.
  • KCMO Land Bank: The Land Bank sells 111 vacant and abandoned houses for $ 1. These buildings are sold to organizations which then renovate them and rent living spaces to people either in the lowest income brackets or in a situation of homelessness.
  • More housing: The city is working with private developers to create more affordable units in new developments. The city also created and allocated $ 12.5 million for an Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Self-Contained Housing Department to focus on renters, unfurnished and affordable housing. Maggie Green, media relations manager for the city, said the city also hopes to reuse unused facilities, such as hotels, as housing for those without shelter.
  • Vision for the housing plan: The city asked for community feedback on the plan to create 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2027.

Robert A. Cronkleton of The Star contributed to it.

This story was originally published 20 December 2021 8:27 a.m.

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Anna Spoerre covers the latest news for the Kansas City Star. Prior to joining The Star, she covered crime and the courts for the Des Moines Register. Spoerre graduated from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she studied journalism.

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