KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — People living in tents in Westport have been relocated after camping at a site for weeks. It’s all part of the city’s plan to help people experiencing homelessness.
Buses pulled up Friday afternoon, and people living at Camp 6ixx packed up their belongings to clear out of the area near the Westport Road, Southwest Trafficway and West 43rd Street intersection.
Over the last two days, the nonprofit Hope Faith has helped move more than 200 people into hotel rooms for up to 90 days.
“There’s men, women and children, and it’s a very big problem,” said Stefan Shipley from Kansas City said. “Truth be told, a lot of people are just one paycheck away from being right where we are right now.”
As a part of their plan to address homelessness, Kansas City leaders will make at least 500 hotel rooms available for three months. Starting with the camp outside City Hall then moving to Westport, Hope Faith helped pack buses with people’s belongings to move.
City officials estimate there are at least 170 groups of tents with people living outside across the city. There are also people living in cars.
“For us right now, it’s finding out what each individual needs and help them look at it and get on their feet,” said Jaysen Van Sickle, executive director of Hope Faith. “So giving them food and shelter is just the beginning.”
Some people FOX4 spoke with said the short-term hotel will provide stability to help people get back on track.
“I’ve been displaced five times in three months, and Medicaid can’t keep up,” Geoffrey Rogers from Kansas City said. “I can’t get an ID because it was sent to another address, and once I get my hips replaced, I can go back to work.”
City Manager Brian Platt will have to calculate the final cost of all the aid to present to city council, but a spokesman told FOX4 the hotel rooms typically run between $70-90 a night.
The city plans to discuss how to use land bank properties to offer affordable housing. Officials also plan to study homelessness in the city to understand how people end up there and barriers to getting jobs.
“Homelessness is not a new thing or some buzz word,” Van Sickle said. “So the fact that we’re starting to see those evictions that we were warned about in the pandemic, we are starting to see a lot more people experiencing homelessness in Kansas City and across the world.”
Hope Faith is managing the efforts to help relocate people to rooms. Their organization will also offer access to resources to help with health care and job placement at their day center campus.
“Changing all these people’s living conditions might be just what they need to push themselves to do better,” Shipley said.
Many people FOX4 spoke to said they’re not looking for a handout, just a hand up to help themselves.
“This hotel is going to give me a steady 3-month deal plus a mailing address, and that’s a God send,” Rogers said.
If you know someone who needs help, contact Hope Faith. The organization can help connect people with hotel rooms.