Topeka city leaders, community members discuss affordable housing

Local News

One local organization is on a mission to make Topeka a more affordable place to live.

Hundreds of people gathered on Monday night at Most Pure Heart of Mary Church in West Topeka to hold a forum with city leaders and community members. 

Some say it was a call to action and a hope that city leaders and people in the community can come together to address Topeka’s housing issues. Both affordable housing and public transportation were the focus of the forum. 

Eve Kendall and other leaders of JUMP, which stands for justice, unity, and ministry project, put on the meeting to ask city leaders for urgency in making a plan to address the issues. 

“It’s all about making Topeka a better place to live and do business and to have a place to go and do things,” said Kendall. 

Topeka City Manager Brent Trout was in attendance and said, “we’re looking for any opportunity to partner and create affordable housing.”

Trout said he is working to set up an affordable housing trust fund plan that will benefit Topekans, but said it’s important to start at the beginning.

“At this point there isn’t funding, but if you don’t have a system set up that allows you to utilize that money in the right way, then it’s really a stopper to the discussion about utilization of money,” said Trout.

Susan Duffy, the General Manager of Topeka Metro was there to discuss affordable transportation for people without cars. She talked about a new program designed to help make bus service more accessible to all.

“The mission of Topeka Metro is to find transportation solutions for people who want to get to work and kids who want to get to school,” said Duffy.  

Kendall said it was great seeing so many people from the community come out to work toward a common goal.

“We’re ready to make the next step and that’s what this is all about tonight,” she said. 

Trout said he plans to have an affordable housing plan sometime in June. His proposal will then go to the city council for consideration.

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