Housing

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The city of Kansas City, Missouri recently announced $10 million in its budget to demolish hundreds of homes that are rotting in urban neighborhoods.

These homes are not only an eyesore, but attract squatters and crime.

The funds are meant to help get rid of more than 800 homes on the city’s dangerous buildings list. But when residents got wind of the program, they cried out to save some of the homes. 

Millions of Americans are evicted every year because they can’t make the rent. For poor families already struggling with finances, the repercussions of being evicted can be crushing.

Guest:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

The year 2015 was a tumultuous one for some 350 residents of an affordable housing complex in Kansas City, Kansas. They had been complaining for years about conditions in the apartments, like broken or missing appliances, electrical fires, black mold.

The owner’s rental license was revoked, but residents were unsure when and if they’d get housing vouchers to move elsewhere. And they couldn’t get any help from their landlords.

Timothy Dorset / Stinson Leonard Street LLP

It’s not often you see a bunch of high priced lawyers sitting side by side community activists in a neighborhood meeting hall.

That’s what happened Friday.

They showed up at the Marlborough Community Center at 82nd and Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri because Legal Aid of Western Missouri was getting a grant.

Legal Aid received $257,441 to fund a program that pairs private law firms with blighted neighborhoods. The project is called Adopt-A –Neighborhood.

We meet a proponent from the Tiny House Collective, a local group that's all about downsizing and living in much smaller homes — and we discuss what it means for affordability, efficiency and a different way to live.

Kansas City is offering some assurances to a developer who filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Eagle Point Development is charging the city with attempting to force low-income African-American tenants out of their apartments on East Armour Boulevard.

The City Council has made no public comment.  But the full body and the Housing Committee spent several hours in closed session this week, presumably discussing the legal issues. 

BasicGov / Flickr-CC

New numbers on foreclosures in Missouri and Kansas show promising signs of economic stability for both states.

Real estate information company RealtyTrac reports that foreclosure rates in Kansas dropped 31 percent from July to September. In Missouri, the numbers dropped even lower for the same period — a 45.5 percent decrease.

RealtyTrac spokeswoman Ginny Walker said that in terms of foreclosures, both states are back to pre-housing crisis numbers. She attributes the progress to consistently low unemployment rates in both states.

A Maine-based development company that owns several low-income housing units in Kansas City, Mo., filed a federal fair housing complaint against the city Thursday.

The Eagle Point Companies alleges the city and various city officials intentionally discriminated "against African-Americans who reside and/or who seek to reside in Bainbridge, Georgian Court and Linda Vista Apartments located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri," according to the complaint.

Cara McClain / KCUR

Blanche Thomas wants neighbors. She has been living in the Ivanhoe neighborhood at 34th Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., since 1956.

Back then, there was a grocery store and dry cleaners across the street. Houses stood on either side of hers. But now, the block looks different.

“It has changed 100 percent because in the block that I live in there are no houses,” Thomas says. “There are no people living on my block, only my son and I.”

The two apartment buildings across the street stand empty. Thomas bought the two lots on either side of her house.

Jonathan Greenwald / Flickr-CC

It's difficult to go from living on the street to living in what most of us consider to be normal housing. That's a real challenge many homeless vets face.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the St. Michael Center and how it's helping veterans make that difficult life transition.

Guests:

  • Eric Verzola, director of Veterans Services Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph
  • Art Fillmore, St. Michael’s Veterans Center Board Member
Vincent Parsons / Flickr Creative Commons

An Indianapolis firm has been chosen to develop the first phase of the Berkley Riverfront Development. The deal between the Port Authority of Kansas City and Flaherty & Collins marks the starting point for the Authority’s master plan to create “a world class urban village” on a 55-acre site. When finished there will be apartments, parking, office space, and retail shopping. On Thursday's Up to Date Steve Kraske finds out the details of the Berkley Riverfront Development.

Guests:

Cerner Corporation

Home construction skyrocketed 88% over last year's developments this April. In the second half of Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Kansas City Star development reporter Kevin Collison about the jump in growth in the metro area.

We'll look at Cerner's expanded office campus where the Bannister Mall once stood, a new $50 million River Market apartment complex, and UMKC's site near the Kauffman Center for the Conservatory of Music.

Guest:

Pam Morris/ Flickr-CC

If you saw a school bus stop to pick up children at a motel, what would you think? One Kansas City man who saw just that decided to help.

"Broadly-speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early months of the year," according to economist David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

KC Civil Rights Summit

Apr 23, 2012
Auntie P / Flickr

On this Monday's Central Standard we speak with Ayanna Hightower-Mannon and Paul Pierce, who work in Kansas City's Civil Rights Division.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR