An encampment established to amplify the voices of Kansas City’s homeless population could withdraw as city council considers a proposal Thursday afternoon that would provide hotel rooms for up to 500 people.
The protest site was formed in early February in front of the town hall.
Shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday, Mayor Quinton Lucas and City Councilor Ryana Parks-Shaw spoke with camp leaders.
Lucas said a resolution would be presented to city council Thursday afternoon to provide hotels for 90 days. This will give stakeholders time to work on two other goals: a land bank for permanent housing and a workforce initiative.
“I think it’s a sign of good faith that we have the hotels as the first of these three,” Lucas told the group of people who had gathered to hear the discussion.
If the resolution passes, people could start moving immediately. Officials said the hotel will be on a bus route and additional assistance services will also be available.
Camp leader James Shelby, who is passing through Gaddafi, said he was encouraged by the first steps.
“It will affect all camps in the city and it’s my goal to try to monitor everyone who is here,” Gaddafi said. “The rest depends on whether city council continues to work with us and create systemic policies and different things that affect our lives for the better. That’s all we are looking for, we are tired of being at the foot of the totem pole. It’s time to treat everyone with the same respect and dignity.
Lucas said they were trying to resolve political issues associated with the town hall site.
“You noted that this is not just a camp but a political demonstration,” he told Gaddafi. “And so I would like to ask us, in our next phase, that the political work shift at least from protest as it exists now, to working with us on some of these important steps.”
Earlier this week, the Town Hall encampment and a camp in Westport received move notices. The defenders mobilized and the dismissals did not take place.
On Thursday morning, about 40 tents dotted the south lawn of the town hall with signs indicating “Housing people” and “We want houses”.
Wilson Vance, campaign manager for KC Tenants, said securing hotel rooms should be seen as a victory, but the fight was not over.
“We can claim a real victory today,” said Vance. “Obviously, there is no real victory until people are in permanent homes, so it will really be about continuing the discussion, and not just discussing, but having a real seat.” at the table. ”
It is estimated that 2,000 people are homeless every day in Kansas City.
City Council will vote on the resolution at its 3 p.m. meeting. Parks-Shaw said she was confident the measure would pass.