Housing Authority of Kansas City

Valerie Everett / Flickr-CC

In 2011, Kansas City reported less than half a percent of its population as homeless. Though this may seem like a small sliver of the population, the U.S. has the largest population of homeless children and women in the industrialized world.


Within the next year, 1.6 million children will experience homelessness in America.


It’s numbers like these that prompted the national Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to approach Congress in 2008 to find a solution to effectively end the housing crisis for homeless families in America.

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Driving up the hill to the Rosedale Ridge apartment complex, it's hard to imagine that anyone lives at the top of this steep incline. But the steps cut into the side of the road tell a different story: 350 low-income residents live in six squat buildings and most them don't have cars. They walk up and down this hulking hill multiple times a day. 

But probably not for long — Rosedale Ridge is on the verge of being shut down because of terrible conditions. Residents have mixed feelings about their departure, if it even happens at all. 

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

After years spent battling landlords and management, residents of a Kansas City, Kansas public housing complex await promised vouchers for housing of their choice. What will happen when, and if, they get off that steep hill?

Controversy has swirled around the Bainbridge apartment complex on Armour Boulevard for years. A legal back-and-forth has accompanied the city's designation of the property as socially blighted. This discussion addresses larger issues about low-income housing and how it is -- and sometimes isn't -- integrated into the fabric of a neighborhood.


Courtesy of Julie Levin.

Julie Levin has worked with Legal Aid of Western Missouri since 1977.

In that time, she's had some monumental cases, from a suit against the Kansas City Housing Authority in 1989 that changed the face of public housing, to a case on behalf of a client who lost her job while on maternity leave. That last case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.


In the 1980’s, some of the public housing units in Kansas City were infested with rats, mice and cockroaches. Plumbing and electrical problems put the health and safety of residents at risk. Complaints to the housing authority were ignored and it seemed to be an organization more about serving political needs of a select few than a place organized to provide people clean, safe, affordable housing. Under such circumstances crime became problematic.