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The City Council has approved a plan to lift the most vulnerable of Kansas City’s unhoused population off the streets and into a more permanent housing solution. The council is allocating $400,000 to create a Housing Navigation Center (Lotus Care House) by converting the former Days Inn at 5100 E. Linwood Blvd. into single-room transitional housing units. 

A full suite of wrap around services such as health care, housing placement assistance and social workers, will be available for everyone living at the Housing Navigation Center. The long-term focus will be to transition individuals and families into permanent housing, although residents at this location will be able to stay as long as needed. 

Operated by service-provider partner Lotus Care, the navigation center features 39 rooms for supportive housing for houseless individuals and families, with special emphasis on seniors 55 and older, single women, medically fragile adults and the LGBTQ+ houseless community. 

“The Housing Navigation Center is a more permanent housing-focused alternative to emergency shelter,” said Jennifer Tidwell, interim director of the city’s Housing and Community Development Department. “Through a collaboration with several partner service providers, the program focuses on providing houseless individuals with a short term stay and providing skill development and resource connection targeted at resolving their homelessness.”

“The city is providing $400,000 to fund the first year, but we anticipate funding will come from the HUD Continuum of Care in the coming years and other recurring sources,” said City Manager Brian Platt. “This facility will greatly expand the City’s capacity to serve the homeless community here.  We estimate being able to relocate 100 or more individuals each year from living on the street into this new facility and eventually into permanent housing every year.”

Several organizations are participating in this effort, including:

  • The Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness
  • Care Beyond the Boulevard
  • Serenity Life Resource Center
  • Truman Behavioral
  • Swope Health
  • ReDiscover
  • Salvation Army
  • Save Inc.
  • Veterans Administration

“This is big step forward on our journey to ending the houseless crisis in Kansas City, but there is still work to do,” said Ryana Parks-Shaw, 5th District Councilwoman, “and that work will continue until we can find permanent housing for all Kansas Citians.”

This is just one more step the city has taken in the last year to address the houseless crisis facing not only Kansas City, but cities across the nation. Those steps include:

  • Allocating $12.5 million to the City’s first-ever affordable housing trust fund incentivizing the creation of affordable housing units and other housing options within larger market-rate multifamily development projects.
  • Distributing $14 million in emergency rental assistance funds to more than 3,400 households in Kansas City. On average, households received $4,400 to help pay back rent and utilities.  
  • With community input, developing a “Vision for Housing” that outlines the plan to create 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2027.
  •  Establishing a new Housing and Community Development Department with the city’s first employees dedicated to homelessness prevention and support, tenant advocacy and affordable housing creation and preservation.  
  • A plan to convert nearly 3,000 vacant lots and homes owned by the City’s Land Bank into affordable housing.
  • Constructing affordable housing on city-owned property in creative ways, such as the plan to incorporate affordable housing units into the reconstruction of the Barney Allis Parking Plaza.

This information is a press release from the City of Kansas City, Mo.