Housing Committee discusses affordable housing needs

Johanna Pounds
Editorial Assistant
Northeast News

Ordinance #180721 created great debate among the City Council members at last week’s housing meeting.

The ordinance discusses at what percentage of income a family pays for rent is considered affordable, and how the percentage should be determined, based on housing facilities that are asking for incentives to build.

Michael Duffy, an attorney with Legal Aid, presented some facts to the council before they made a decision on how to vote for the Ordinance.

“Kansas City was known as an affordable housing city; that’s history now,” he said.

He continued on to tell the council about how the percentage of affordable housing went from eleven-percent to five-percent in Kansas City, and that the median income has changed. Median income is now $38,264 to $39,080. This means rent cost would need to be in the $800-range in order to be affordable for a four-person household.

Some council members suggested the price of rent for affordable housing be determined by median income of the school districts.

Councilwoman Alissia Canady of the 5th District, commented on this decision.

“According to the number the school districts have provided,” she said “it’s still not affordable for their parents.”

Canady was not afraid to be honest with her fellow council members. She stated that current affordable housing units “are not the best-straight up.”

“Although this has been a healthy discussion,” Canady continued “I will say again, this does not address affordability where the need is.”

The council agreed that this was one of many strategies to approach the issue, although not one that can solve the issue on its own.

The council voted and pushed forward the legislation requiring those projects wanting tax exemptions and incentives have at least (15%) affordable housing where rent is based off those whose income is at 70% of the median income of the area.

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