City News | KCMO.gov – City of Kansas City, MO
Kansas City’s first-ever “Right to Counsel” program to prevent evictions and provide free legal assistance and support to individuals and families officially kicks off June 1.
Housing and Community Development will enter into four contracts, totaling $700,000, with legal agencies to provide these services:
- The Heartland Center for Jobs and Freedom will provide counsel and training to all attorneys involved in the Right to Counsel program;
- Legal Aid will provide three lawyers; and
- The UMKC Fellows program will provide three or more attorneys.
Additionally, there will be a call navigation program, recommended by Legal Aid, Heartland Center, UMKC, and United Way, that will handle all inquiries necessary to provide information to Kansas citizens facing deportation in Jackson Counties. , Clay, Platte or Cass.
“I am proud to share today that the Kansas City Right to Counsel Program is staffed and funded, which will help ensure that everyone in Kansas City who needs it has access to legal assistance in matters housing,” said Mayor Quinton Lucas. “This is another important step in our work to protect tenants and help people stay in their homes. Yet there is still work to be done. I thank everyone in our community who has worked with the City Council to move this important initiative forward.
“Thank you to the leaders of KC Tenants for identifying a serious unmet need in our city and for bringing to light one of the greatest challenges and traumatic events facing our residents: evictions,” said the manager. Municipal Brian Platt. “This is just one step we will take a lot to better support those living with housing insecurity in Kansas City.”
“This new program will ensure that everyone facing deportation will have legal representation. As a city, we will do everything we can to see the successful implementation of the right to an attorney program, which will have a profound impact on the lives of those who need our representation the most,” added Andrea, member of the Sixth District City Council. Plugged.
The Right to Counsel initiative continues the City’s mission to address housing insecurity, affordable housing, and the issues facing our homeless and housing insecure community. City initiatives so far include:
- Allocate $25 million to the City’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund which will encourage the creation of affordable housing units and other housing options within larger multi-family developments, otherwise at the rate of market
- Distribution of $20.6 million in emergency rental assistance funds to nearly 4,400 households in Kansas City
- Use community input to develop a “housing vision” that outlines the plan to create 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2027
- Created a housing and community development department with the first city employees dedicated to preventing and supporting homelessness, advocating for tenants, and creating and preserving affordable housing
- Working to convert nearly 3,000 vacant lots and homes owned by the city’s land bank into affordable housing
- Create the city’s first-ever homelessness prevention coordinator
- Creation of the City’s first tenant advocate positions
- Establish a right to counsel program for tenants in need of legal assistance
- Conversion of a former hotel into permanent supportive housing and emergency transitional housing for people experiencing homelessness
For more information on the many city programs that help tenants, please visit KCMO.gov, the city’s website.
Media may contact John Baccala at 816-513-3202.