KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSNT) – Despite a notice for homeless groups to vacate camps located at City Hall and in Westport, both camps remain and people living at the sites say they will not be moved.
“They say we can’t be on city property. There is no other property in the whole city unless city property. No matter where we go, it’s city property,” said Qadhafi, leader of the KC Homeless Union.
On Monday, city crews visited City Hall to help clean up bags of trash and empty trash bins. Everything else was untouched.
Mayor Quinton Lucas also visited the site at City Hall twice to listen to stories and sit face to face with the people without a home.
“This is not a camp. This was a decision, a conscious decision made to use this occupation as a political tactic to be heard,” Qadhafi said.
While some cleanup initiatives have happened at City Hall, the tents have seemingly multiplied overnight at the Westport site.
Support for the various camps has been growing around the city, and there’s a common agreement among many that something needs to be done.
“I feel like the city, state, county, all governments need to step in and help out. Right now we are in a crisis. Something has to happen,” said Daewun Sin, owner of Kung Fu Tea in Westport.
KC Tenants and other local groups were on site Monday at City Hall, acting as a sweeping defense.
The homeless campsite on the front lawn of City Hall is now surrounded by a plastic safety fence, which was installed by the campers early Monday morning as part of an attempt to prevent the city from forcibly removing them.
The group said they have a list a demands, which include access to housing, water, jobs and a seat at the table. They said until those demands are met, they will not leave.
Lucas plans to have another sit down with the group at 9 a.m. Tuesday.