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Thu December 22, 2005
Homeless Center Proposal Sparks Controversy
By Steve Bell
Kansas City, MO – Despite programs like the Grace and Holy Trinity community kitchen, Salvation Army, Project Restart and City Union Mission, Kansas City is lagging in services to the homeless, according to nonprofit leaders. A total of 18 agencies would combine to provide comprehensive health, housing and job training services and programs to meet the daily needs of the city's homeless population. And the Parks and Recreation Department looked favorably on housing the programs in a proposed new community center in Margaret Kemp Park.
But business owners in the Kemp Park neighborhood are resisting. They say the heavy influx of homeless has brought prostitution, panhandling, drug deals and murder to their area. The business owners say they support current agencies in the neighborhood, but believe any new services should be placed elsewhere. They also contest whether the facility would actually be a "community center," and say they believe the use of park land for a training center is a violation of the city charter.